Oct 21, 2019

The opioid epidemic's kids crisis in West Virginia

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

A baby boy is monitored for opioid withdrawal inside a Charleston, W.Va. hospital. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The opioid epidemic has left thousands of West Virginian children neglected, abused or in foster care, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: "West Virginia's journey provides a case study in how legal battles against drug companies can fail to balance the scales, leaving behind more conflict than resolution in communities still reeling from the crisis," the Post writes.

By the numbers: The state has settled 4 lawsuits for a total of $94 million — a small sum in light of recent settlement agreements.

  • But the state's child welfare problem has only deepened. Almost 6,900 children are in foster care — double the number from a decade ago. An estimated 80% have been affected by the drug crisis.
  • Counties with higher rates of opioid overdose deaths also tend to have more child abuse and neglect cases.

The bottom line: The situation is dire. The Post reports that for more than a decade, foster homes and emergency shelters have faced bed shortages.

Go deeper: The opioid epidemic will cost the U.S. as much as $214 billion in 2019

Go deeper

Trump threatens to deploy military amid national unrest

President Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden Monday evening that he is "mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military" to stop violent protests across the country, decrying "professional anarchists, looters, criminals, antifa and others" whose actions have "gripped" the nation.

The backdrop: Trump's announcement came as police clashed with protesters just outside of the White House, using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot," and other slogans. Flash bangs used outside the White House could be heard from the Rose Garden.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Autopsies say George Floyd's death was homicide

Police watch as demonstrators block a roadway while protesting the death of George Floyd in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Preliminary results from an independent autopsy commissioned by George Floyd's family found that his death in the custody of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to a statement from the family's attorney.

The latest: An updated official autopsy released by the Hennepin County medical examiner also determined that the manner of Floyd's death was "homicide," ruling it was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdued, restraint, and neck compression."

The Biden-Trump split screen

Photos via Getty Images: Jim Watson/AFP (L); Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency (R)

The differences between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump are plain as day as the two respond to recent protests.

Why it matters: Americans are seeing firsthand how each presidential nominee responds to a national crisis happening during a global pandemic.