Society

Seven years ago, Robert Kerley, who makes his living as a truck driver, was loading drywall onto his trailer when a gust of wind knocked him off. He fell 14 feet and hurt his back.

For pain, a series of doctors prescribed him a variety of opioids: Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin.

In less than a year, the 45-year-old from Federal Heights, Colo., says he was hooked. "I spent most of my time high, lying on the couch, not doing nothing, sleeping, dozing off, falling asleep everywhere," he says.

Kentucky Population Estimate Up 0.4 Percent from 2016

Dec 28, 2017
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  Kentucky remains the 26th largest state by population, based on newly released census data that shows an increase in residents of 0.4 percent from last year.

Editor's Note: This story was produced in partnership with WOSU and Side Effects Public Media, a reporting collaborative focused on public health.

In Norfolk,Va., the YWCA South Hampton Roads's crisis counselors have been answering calls on a 24-hour hotline that serves the region in southeast Virginia. They help victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and related types of abuse find shelter, counseling, and other services.

"[We're hearing from] people who were recently sexually assaulted, people just wanting to process a harassment issue, or people who experienced it a long time ago and were maybe triggered from the recent social media stuff," says Nicole Nordan, the counseling program director.

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  A new report shows the impact of drug deaths on Kentucky’s overall health. The commonwealth has the second-highest rate of drug deaths in the nation, according to a recent report published by United Healthcare Foundation.

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  Officials say Tennesseans that participated in a national prescription drug disposal initiative turned in a record number of unwanted or expired medications.

As the opioid crisis continued to plague communities across the country, this year. several states have joined a handful of others in declaring opioid emergencies. President Trump recently labeled the crisis a national public "health emergency." That drew attention to the issue, but did not come with any new funding.

Rhonda Miller, WKYU

As Americans look toward the New Year, there’s a universal hope for peace in a world so often troubled by conflict and war. Members of a group called Nonviolent Owensboro are working to create a little more of that peace, beginning in their own community.

The U.S. foster care system is overwhelmed, in part because America's opioid crisis is overwhelming. Thousands of children have had to be taken out of the care of parents or a parent who is addicted.

Indiana is among the states that have seen the largest one-year increase in the number of children who need foster care. Judge Marilyn Moores, who heads the juvenile court in Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, says the health crisis is straining resources in Indiana.

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