drugs

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage has tweeted that reports of his "political demise are greatly exaggerated.''

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Doctors in Connecticut are working together to reduce the amount of prescription opioids prescribed after surgery. 

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Why are some people more susceptible to addiction than others? How does genetic makeup influence a person’s chances of becoming an addict? This hour, we find out how researchers at Yale University and The Jackson Laboratory are working to better understand the science of addiction. 

When Phillip decided to stop using heroin, he knew sticking around home was a recipe for failure.

"It's just, like, a heroin epidemic on Long Island where I'm from. So I had to get away from that and now I'm in Prescott, Ariz.," Phillip says. NPR agreed not to use his last name because he is struggling with addiction and fears it might hurt his chances of future employment.

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Illicit use of prescription drugs has almost tripled among high school students in southeastern Connecticut. That's according to the Southeastern Regional Action Council.

The Obama administration has denied a bid by two Democratic governors to reconsider how it treats marijuana under federal drug control laws, keeping the drug for now, at least, in the most restrictive category for U.S. law enforcement purposes.

Some arrive on their own, worried about what was really in that bag of heroin. Some are carried in, slumped between two friends. Others are lifted off the sidewalk or asphalt of a nearby alley and rolled in a wheelchair to what's known as SPOT, or the Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment, at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

Nearly one-third of Russia's Olympic team has already been barred from the Rio Olympics as part of a major doping scandal. Now, an announcement is expected Sunday on whether the country's Paralympic team will be allowed to compete.

  A judge in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island began hearings Wednesday in a lawsuit against the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, spurred by a local journalist.

Providence-based writer Phil Eil, says he’s fought for more than five years to obtain access to thousands of pages of public evidence from a pill-mill trial, about which he plans to write a book.

“I think it’s long overdue that the press and the public have access to the evidence, and I hope the judge will agree with that and say this has gone on long enough,” said Eil. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut officials have responded to the state’s opioid epidemic with solutions like expanded access to overdose prevention kits at pharmacies, and limitations on pain killer prescriptions. But much of the fight to save lives is taking place after business hours, and in the most directly affected communities.

Many More People Seek Medical Help For Opioid Abuse

Aug 1, 2016

Health care claims for people with opioid dependence diagnoses rose more than 3,000 percent between 2007 and 2014, according to an analysis of insurance records.

The findings illustrate that the opioid problem is "in the general mainstream," says Robin Gelburd, president of Fair Health, a nonprofit that analyzes health care costs and conducted the study.

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A complaint filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and later withdrawn, described a culture of surveillance and fear at Bridgewater Associates in Westport

To say that Pam Livengood made an impression on Hillary Clinton’s campaign might be an understatement.

The Keene resident first met Clinton last year, on the candidate’s first campaign visit to New Hampshire. At the time, she spoke up about how her family’s been affected by the state’s substance abuse crisis – she took over guardianship of her grandson a few years ago because of issues stemming from her daughter's drug addiction.

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Governor Dannel Malloy recently signed legislation that would expand Connecticut’s effort to combat the opioid epidemic. At the same time, he announced a partnership with a team of doctors from Yale University to help develop a strategic plan.

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

The bill, which had previously passed the House, will now be sent to President Obama. He has indicated that he will sign it, despite concerns that it doesn't provide enough funding.

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Stamford’s Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the controversial painkiller Oxycontin, has responded to a damning article in The LA Times that accused Purdue of turning a blind eye to abuse of the powerful opioid.

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In response to the recent rash of overdoses in New Haven, medical professionals are going out into the community to teach people how to use naloxone -- or Narcan -- the overdose antidote.

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Sherwood Taylor remembered the time he saw a friend die of an overdose, just feet away from where he sat on his bed in his Hartford apartment.

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Gunfire and three blasts at the airport in Istanbul yesterday left at least 40 people dead and hundreds wounded. It’s yet another strike against Turkey, a country that's on the front lines of a migration crisis and a war against terrorists. Some U.S. lawmakers, meanwhile are trying to make it harder for those on the terror watch list to get guns, including House Democrats who staged the latest high-profile demonstration last week. But that other issue, migration, was the key to the victory of the "Leave" campaign in the United Kingdom, as they voted to exit the E.U. 

State Prepares to Tighten Prescription Monitoring

Jun 28, 2016
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Connecticut’s shift next month from weekly to “real-time” reporting of prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances is an effective way to help stem opioid-related deaths, a new study suggests.

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New Haven officials are declaring a public health emergency after nearly 20 people overdosed on tainted heroin or cocaine and at least three died in the city and surrounding towns.

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For lawmakers looking to address the crisis of drug addiction and overdose, limiting access to prescription painkillers and increasing availability of opioid-reversal drugs like naloxone have been two major policy points. A legislative push in Connecticut now aims to expand access to treatments as well. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Emergency rooms all over the country are seeing a huge surge in the number of people being brought in after overdosing on opioids or heroin. There’s no doubt this is a disruption for staff and a strain on resources. But one Connecticut hospital has decided this point of contact with the opioid epidemic actually represents a huge opportunity.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new law aimed at combating Connecticut’s opioid and heroin epidemic will go into effect on July 1, 2016. The legislation, Public Act 16-43, has been described as one of the most comprehensive opioid laws in the country and includes several key provisions -- among them: a seven-day limit on all first-time, non-chronic pain opioid prescriptions. 

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As Connecticut continues to deal with the consequences of opioid abuse, a new national survey says most people prescribed painkillers in America get more than they need -- and many are saving those pills for later use. 

One impact of the addiction epidemic has been a skyrocketing rise in newborns experiencing withdrawal after being exposed to opioids in the womb. 

From 2006 to 2011, the number of newborns in withdrawal more than doubled in New Hampshire, and hospitals say the problem is only getting worse.

An independent tribunal has suspended Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova from play for a period of two years after she failed a drug test, the International Tennis Federation says.

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For some patients looking to break their addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers, there's a drug out there that works. It’s called Suboxone, but government regulations and individual doctors have made it difficult to get, which is leading many to buy it illegally. 

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press

Pressing for the same or nearly the same limits on opioid prescriptions is one of the ways New England’s Republican and Democratic governors are working together to address the drug epidemic.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, both Democrats from Connecticut, met with public health officials and law enforcement in Stamford on Tuesday for a forum on the opioid and heroin epidemic. Himes says the epidemic is affecting more well-off communities, like Stamford, and he asked how Connecticut could use emergency federal funds to fight it.

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