On the eve of the New York Yankees American League wild-card game against the Houston Astros, pitcher CC Sabathia issued a written statement that he was checking himself into alcohol rehab.

The Yankees released the statement. Here's part of it:

"Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.

Gov. Maggie Hassan, alongside dozens of law enforcement officers, medical experts and advocates Tuesday, announced a new campaign designed to tackle the state’s opioid epidemic.

The price of a medication that can reverse a drug overdose has doubled over the past year. Now Rhode Island  will be getting a small break in the price of Narcan (the brand name for naloxone).               

His ambulance sirens blaring and several police scanners transmitting information simultaneously, Boston Emergency Medical Services Deputy Superintendent Edmund Hassan is speeding to a call that someone is unconscious. Because his workers administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone (more commonly known by its brand name, Narcan) about three times a night, he suspects it’s an opioid overdose.

The radios crackle, and it’s confirmed: an overdose. Additional workers are dispatched to the scene.

Ever heard of a diabetic patient who ate a large muffin before having a blood glucose test, was scolded for giving in to temptation, and then told to just say no to carbs?

How about a cardiac patient who has a worrisome stress test and is shown the door when she admits to eating a few Big Macs?

That kind of response is all too familiar for patients whose brains have been altered by heroin or other opiates.

Vermont will get $4 million during the next four years from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent overdose deaths caused by prescription opiate drugs.

Young people who use e-cigarettes are very likely to move on to smoking real tobacco products. That’s the conclusion of a new study co-authored by researchers from Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says the state has reached a first-in-the-nation agreement with the maker of an opioid overdose reversal drug.

If you've ever had surgery, you may have been given an analgesic named fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a favored painkiller because it acts fast. But it's also 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The powerful drug has made its way to the streets and increasingly is being used to cut heroin — resulting in a deadly combination.

The state’s opioid crisis is becoming increasingly clear in public places, where it’s not uncommon to find syringes littering the ground.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh responded to complaints about syringes by creating the two-person Mobile Sharps Collection Team. It’s run out of the same building as the AHOPE Boston needle exchange program.

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Opioid overuse is America’s “silent epidemic,” affecting far too many of the roughly eight million people on opioid painkillers.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC says overprescribing is to blame.  "Every single day, 46 Americans die from an overdose of prescription opioid painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin or Methadone," he said. "These drugs are commonly prescribed in every community, and a surge in prescriptions has been the main force of this epidemic."

New Hampshire is in the throes of a drug epidemic driven by prescription opioids and heroin.

"The state of New Hampshire loses a citizen to an overdose death about every day," said Tym Rourke, chairman of the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

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Last month, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared heroin use a national public health crisis. Connecticut, like much of the rest of country, is grappling with an alarming rise in heroin and opiate painkiller addiction and overdose. 

New data shows the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts is worse than public health officials feared.

The number of opioid deaths in 2014 totaled 1,256 according to revised numbers released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.   Initial estimates had 1,008 people dying of drug overdoses last year. 

And, the epidemic shows no signs of lettering up.  An estimated 312 people are thought to have died of an overdose in the first three months of this year. 

In Pennsylvania, it's estimated opioids like heroin killed at least 1,300 people last year. In Massachusetts, more than 1,000 have died, and in Connecticut, heroin deaths jumped more than 85 percent in two years.

But figuring out the size and scope of the problem is harder than many people think.

Pennsylvania, like many states, doesn't require reporting of specific details on drug overdoses, and whatever other information is available is at least two years old.

The problem of opiate addiction in Maine is one that state Rep. Barry Hobbins knows something about. "One of my family members has been struggling with this dreaded addiction of opiates for six years," he says.

So when pharmaceutical company Pfizer — which makes opioids that have abuse-deterrent properties — asked Hobbins to sponsor a bill that would require insurance companies to cover these more expensive drugs at the same level as other opioids, he agreed.

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Rates of heavy drinking in Connecticut spiked 21.3 percent between 2005 and 2012, while binge drinking rates rose nearly 14 percent, with the largest increases among women drinkers, a new report shows.

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Each night, the state helps pay for around 200 beds for women dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. The Tina Klem Serenity House in Bridgeport is one of them.

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A Manchester social service agency will close its 40-bed homeless shelter July 1 rather than comply with a state order to admit homeless people who abuse alcohol and drugs. 

The thinking about alcohol dependence used to be black and white. There was a belief that there were two kinds of drinkers: alcoholics and everyone else.

"But that dichotomy — yes or no, you have it or you don't — is inadequate," says Dr. John Mariani, who researches substance abuse at Columbia University. He says that the thinking has evolved, and that the field of psychiatry recognizes there's a spectrum.

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Connecticut is one step closer to adding more casinos. The legislature's public safety and security committee voted this week 15-to-eight in favor of the legislation

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Massachusetts doctors have seen an increase in the number of pregnant women addicted to opiates. Dr. Rachana Singh from Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield has said the number of babies withdrawing from opioids in their NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) has tripled since 2012. 

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A study co-authored by Yale University finds a link between problem gambling and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Over the years, it's been difficult for psychiatrists to classify problem gambling. It was once considered a impulse control disorder.

In the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, problem gambling is classified as an addiction.

A new study by Yale University, St. Louis University, and the VA finds an overlap between problem gambling and obsessive compulsive behaviors. 

Office of Gov. Malloy

Connecticut passed several laws in recent years to address the growing problem of addiction to opioids and the rising number of overdose deaths. Governor Dannel Malloy will unveil a package of proposals this legislative session to further prevent abuse of painkillers and overdoses.

The state has a Good Samaritan law that encourages people to call 911 if they are with someone overdosing. Doctors can also write a prescription for anyone to obtain Narcan, a drug that reverses opiate overdoses. 

Malloy's proposals will include allowing pharmacists to prescribe Narcan after being trained and certified through the state Department of Consumer Protection.

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Over the last four years, local emergency departments saw a 50 percent increase in opioid overdoses. Often, it's hospital emergency rooms that treat people who are suffering from chronic pain. Now, Connecticut hospital ERs are looking at ways to manage pain but also prevent the abuse of prescription painkillers.

Several medical associations in Connecticut have endorsed voluntary guidelines for local emergency departments to reduce the inappropriate use of opioids.

Carl Schiessl, Director of Regulatory Advocacy with the Connecticut Hospital Association, said directors of emergency rooms gather monthly at CHA. He said it was at one of those meetings where the idea for the guidelines came up. 

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According to a new Yale study, addiction is a chronic disease that is treated like an acute illness. But what if we treated it differently, with longer-term goals? 

Earlier this year, the heroin epidemic in this country was front and center. It's not in the headlines anymore, but that doesn't mean the problem of opioid addiction, fueled by abusing prescription drugs or heroin, has gone away.

Torrington received a lot of attention for the number of overdose deaths there in 2013.  Late last year, community stakeholders came together to form the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force. One of the task force's biggest initiatives to combat the problem throughout the entire county was the creation of a community case manager to work at the local hospital.

Meds to Alleviate Stress May Help Women Smokers Quit

Sep 2, 2014
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For the last 50 years, men have consistently had an easier time quitting smoking than women. More men go cold turkey. More men stop on nicotine blockers like gum and patches. More men succeed on medications. Sherry McKee, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, thinks she may know why.

Tobacco control advocates disagree on whether e-cigarettes are a useful tool to get smokers off tobacco, or just a sleeker form of one of the world's deadliest addictions.

A lot of that discord comes from the fact that there's just not enough science to know the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in a vapor rather than through tobacco smoke. And it could take years to find out if vaping causes cancer and other deadly diseases.

CVS Caremark will be joining Walgreens in allowing pharmacists to dispense a life-saving antidote for drug overdoses, without a prescription. That means that soon Narcan will be much more widely available throughout the state.

Rhode Island Hospital drug abuse epidemiologist Traci Green has been working with a statewide overdose prevention task force to get Narcan – also known as naloxone—into as many hands as possible. The drug can rescue someone who has overdosed on an opioid like heroin or prescription painkiller OxyContin.