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Sedgwick County is considering filing a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

Deborah Shaar/KMUW

The Wichita Police Department is in the early stages of changing the way it tracks cases involving drug abuse.

Capt. Dan East of the Wichita Police Department’s Special Investigations Bureau says the department is looking to modify how officers classify cases and look for drug evidence in order to get accurate numbers of substance abuse in the community.

“When the police get called to an overdose, at that point, a lot of times we don’t know what the drug is. We don’t know what they have taken if there’s no one else there," he says.


For the first time in its annual survey of rural America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that mortality rates of working-age adults are on the rise because of opioid and heroin overdoses.

Continuing longtime trends, rural areas are still seeing declining populations, the rebound from the Great Recession is slow and poverty remains a persistent problem, according to the USDA’s “Rural America at a Glance,” released Thursday.


Anecdotal evidence from prosecutors across the state indicates opioid abuse is growing in Kansas, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said, but he urged lawmakers not to forget the state’s ongoing methamphetamine problem.

Schmidt on Thursday answered questions about the issue from a panel of lawmakers in Topeka.

A prescription drug monitoring program in Kansas will receive a federal grant worth more than $178,000 to help fight the opioid crisis.

The Kansas Board of Pharmacy oversees K-TRACS, a system for monitoring prescriptions for controlled substances.

Board Executive Secretary Alexandra Blasi says doctors, dentists and pharmacists who participate in the program report their prescription activity to the state to verify a patient’s history.


Kansas is among the 41 states that are working together to investigate companies that produce and distribute opioids. Deaths related to prescription opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

Kansas To Participate In National Opioid Study

Jun 8, 2017
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Kansas is again expanding its efforts to reduce opioid abuse, this time concentrating on the people involved in the criminal justice system.

The National Governors Association has selected Kansas and seven other states to participate in a nationwide study of best practices. It's an eight-month project to develop strategies for the entire nation.

The concentration will be on the criminal justice population. Fifteen percent of the more than 6,000 people leaving Kansas prisons every year have a history of opioid misuse and/or a diagnosis of opioid use disorder.

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Kansans safely disposed of more than eight tons of unused medicines during last week’s National Drug Take-Back Day, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

Kansas law enforcement officers collected 16,314 pounds of medicines at more than 100 locations throughout the state during last Saturday’s event, according to a report from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. This was the largest single-day of collection since the semi-annual program began in 2010, far surpassing the 13,894 pounds collected in April 2016.

Law enforcement officers in Kansas and across the country will be collecting unused, expired and leftover medications on Saturday.

It’s an initiative called the National Drug Take-Back Day.

The drug collection events are a way to safely dispose of leftover and expired medications to prevent accidental or intentional misuse.

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

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The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) has received a grant for over $3.1 million to use in the treatment and prevention of opioid abuse.

Eighty percent of the grant money will be used for treatment and recovery and 20 percent for prevention, intervention and public education.

KDADS reports that Kansas is the 16th highest opioid prescribing state in the country. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says that between 2013 and 2015, deaths from opioid overdose increased 28 percent and deaths from heroin use went up by 71 percent.