WNPR

Health

A year ago, Maine was one of the first states to set limits on opioid prescriptions. The goal in capping the dose of prescription painkillers a patient could get was to stem the flow of opioids that are fueling a nationwide epidemic of abuse.

Maine's law, considered the toughest in the U.S., is largely viewed as a success. But it has also been controversial — particularly among chronic pain patients who are reluctant to lose the medicine they say helps them function.

ep_jhu / Creative Commons

In 2016, there were 917 accidental drug deaths in Connecticut, most of them from opioid abuse, according to the office of the state’s Chief Medical Examiner.

frankieleon / Creative Commons

Drug overdose deaths in Connecticut have surpassed the national average for several years now.

This hour, we talk with a former heroin addict about how he got into recovery — and his advice for others struggling with addiction. 

From the thirteenth floor of a glass tower at the Oregon Health & Science University, you get a panoramic view of downtown Portland and the majestic mountains in the distance. But it's what's happening inside the building that's brought me here.

"Should we go do this thing?" lab manager Amy Koski asks.

Mamma Loves / Creative Commons

Pregnancy and childbirth bring on a range of emotions -- from excitement, to exhaustion, to the stress of physical pain.

Few, however, expect these experiences to result in human tragedy -- especially not in the death of a new or soon-to-be mother

This hour: the realities of maternal health and mortality. We check in with a team of doctors and reporters, and we also hear from you.

In recent months, mothers who nearly died in the hours and days after giving birth have repeatedly told ProPublica and NPR that their doctors and nurses were often slow to recognize the warning signs that their bodies weren't healing properly.

ep_jhu / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s Wheeler Clinic is piloting a new outreach program aimed at cutting the rate of opioid addiction among teenage girls. 

Lori Mack / WNPR

The New Haven Fire Department is now among a growing number of departments equipped with special pet respirators.

Aqua Mechanical / Creative Commons

As the federal government renews tests to determine how much glyphosate is in America’s foods, Connecticut environmental groups, organic farmers and a U.S. senator say it’s time to limit the use of, or ban, the popular herbicide.

James L. Occi / Armed Forces Pest Management Board

Incidents of tick-borne diseases are on the rise throughout Connecticut and other parts of the country, especially in the Northeast. Researchers are also reporting an increase in the overall number of ticks.

The American Cancer Society says Connecticut is one of two states that has not provided funding for tobacco prevention from money received from a 1990s settlement between the tobacco industry and 46 states.

When a receptionist hands out a form to fill out at a doctor's office, the questions are usually about medical issues: What's the visit for? Are you allergic to anything? Up to date on vaccines?

But some health organizations are now asking much more general questions: Do you have trouble paying your bills? Do you feel safe at home? Do you have enough to eat? Research shows these factors can be as important to health as exercise habits or whether you get enough sleep.

Some doctors even think someone's ZIP code is as important to their health as their genetic code.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The U.S Senate recently rejected a number of Republican plans to repeal, replace, or just overhaul the Affordable Care Act. But the health care debate is far from settled.

Courtesty Timothy Cohn

During the 1920’s, some Connecticut women took jobs painting watch dials with radium-laced paint. At the time, they didn’t know it was toxic. As these so-called “Radium Girls” began to die, their stories became part of a rallying cry for industrial regulation.

This hour, we talk about the "Radium Girls" of Waterbury with Kate Moore, author of The Radium Girls: The Dark Story Of America’s Shining Women

Philip Kirby says he first used heroin during a stint in a halfway house a few years ago, when he was 21 years old. He quickly formed a habit.

"You can't really dabble in it," he says.

Late last year, Kirby was driving with drugs and a syringe in his car when he got pulled over. He went to jail for a few months on a separate charge before entering a drug court program in Hamilton County, Ind., north of Indianapolis. But before Kirby started, he says the court pressured him to get a shot of a drug called Vivitrol.

Pages