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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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More opioid abusers now can get medication help

More Americans will now have access to a drug that could help treat their opioid addiction, Sylvia Burwell, U.S. secretary of health and human services, announced Tuesday, even as she pushed for Congress to approve $1.1 billion targeted at the opioid epidemic.

Rosalia nurse’s license suspended after deaths

State health officials suspended a Rosalia nurse practitioner’s license after three of her patients died from taking prescribed painkillers. In some cases, the prescriptions written by Susan Bowen-Small exceeded 15 times the daily dosage of pain medication the state considers a threshold for involving pain management specialists, according to the Washington Department of Health.

Prescription drug abuse, deaths target of new Washington law

At the height of his addiction, Joshua Dameron would cruise through emergency rooms in Spokane, hoping to score his next fix. Dameron got hooked on prescription pain medication after suffering a herniated disk while working in a dynamite factory. He’s one of thousands of Washington citizens who have gotten addicted to narcotic pain medications over the last decade. One doctor called the pain meds, which go by names such as Vicodin, Percoset and OxyContin, just a “fancy form of heroin.”

1990s saw hard push for legal opiates

Washington’s emergence as a state with one of the highest rates of both opiate prescriptions and deaths was not, in hindsight, an accident. In 1995, Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in an aggressive marketing campaign, pitching the drug as a salvation from chronic pain. The next year, Washington’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission issued new liberalized guidelines addressing the undertreatment of chronic pain. By 1999, they had been codified into law specifying that “no disciplinary action will be taken against a practitioner based solely on the quantity and/or frequency of opioids prescribed.”

Hearings planned on methadone clinic in Spokane Valley

A California company is planning to open a private-pay methadone clinic in Spokane Valley as the waiting list to enroll in the county’s only other such drug addiction program lengthens. State officials have already recognized adequate demand for another methadone clinic in the Spokane region. The only other methadone program in the county treating addicts of opiates such as heroin and some powerful prescription painkillers is run by the Spokane Regional Health District.

Man was bound before slaying

A Spokane man was bound with a rope before being thrown to his death off the Sunset Bridge in June. Police on Tuesday released a photo of that rope, which was used to bind William P. “Bill” Pickard’s hands and neck, to bring attention to a homicide that’s provided few clues.

Sentenced to 4 years, robber cites addiction

A 24-year-old convicted robber told a judge Thursday how he went from living with his girlfriend and their 7-year-old daughter to putting a knife to a man’s throat to get a pharmacist to hand over a bag of OxyContin pills.

Spokane County methadone program cuts dozens

A tight budget is prompting Spokane County to cut two dozen uninsured people from its methadone treatment program and will slam shut the possibility that 22 more uninsured drug addicts on the waiting list will get help from the program soon. The program helps heroin addicts and the growing number of patients who are hooked on prescription painkillers maintain some stability in their lives.

Methadone clinic cutting uninsured patients

A tight budget is prompting Spokane County to cut two dozen uninsured people from its methadone treatment program and will slam shut the possibility that 22 more uninsured drug addicts on the waiting list will get help from the program soon.