Issues & Ales: Heroin in Alabama

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Deaths from heroin overdose have increased dramatically in Alabama, doubling in Jefferson County alone last year. Heroin is cheaper than ever, and more and more people who are addicted to prescription painkillers are making the switch, tearing families and communities apart. Why is heroin usage on the rise and what can law enforcement, public health officials, families, parents, and teachers do to combat the growing epidemic?

Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM will explore this topic through a five-part series, and at “Issues & Ales: Heroin in Alabama” on Tuesday, March 24, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at WorkPlay, 500 23rd St. South, Birmingham.

Panelists include:

-Joyce White Vance, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama

-Dr. Mark Wilson, Health Officer & Chief Executive, Jefferson County Department of Health

-Elizabeth P. Drennen, Director of Clinical Outreach and Communications, Addiction Prevention Coalition

-Foster Cook, Associate Professor and Director of UAB Substance Abuse Programs, Jefferson County Community Corrections Program (TASC)

-Dr. Karen Cropsey, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, UAB

and more…

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6 p.m. The event is free, and food and beverages will be available for purchase from Greg’s Hot Dogs and WorkPlay. Issues & Ales is part of the outreach effort of Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM, the station where you can listen and be heard.

For event updates, follow WBHM on Facebook and join the event or check the event page at WBHM’s website.
This event will be streamed live at

Hear Highlights from “Issues & Ales: Crime in the Greater Birmingham Area”

There’s a perception that crime is on the rise in and around Birmingham. What’s really happening? Is fear changing our behavior and affecting relationships in our communities? How can Birmingham and surrounding communities work to reduce violent crime? On Thursday, March 10 Local law enforcement officials and community members met to discuss crime and brainstorm solutions for WBHM’s “Issues and Ales: Crime in the Greater Birmingham Area.”

Issues & Ales: Crime in the Greater Birmingham Area

Join us on Thursday, March 10 for “Issues and Ales: Crime in the Greater Birmingham Area.” Local law enforcement officials and community members will discuss crime and brainstorm solutions.

Naloxone Helps Stop Heroin Overdoses in Alabama, But Still Not Widely Used

In Jefferson County, heroin abuse rose dramatically in 2014. The county coroner attributed more than 140 deaths to heroin. Law enforcement and the state have been rushing to respond. Last year, the state legislature approved access to a heroin antidote: naloxone, more commonly known as narcan. If used properly, naloxone can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. Public health officials in Alabama are trying raise awareness and get the potentially life-saving drug to the people who need it most.

High Costs of Heroin Addiction Treatment Put Significant Strain on Families

Heroin abuse continues to rise nationally and in Alabama, leaving more people searching for ways to kick addiction. Families ask friends, professionals and scour the Internet looking for the best, and most affordable, treatment for their loved one. But the financial burdens can be crippling, sometimes thousands upon thousands of dollars.

The Low Price and High Cost of Heroin

Heroin overdose deaths are on the rise nationally. In Jefferson County, deaths increased by more than 140 percent in 2014. The numbers were shocking: Heroin caused or contributed to 144 deaths in 2014. Area law enforcement responded by increasing efforts to get traffickers and drugs off the streets, especially in Birmingham.