drugs

Monsanto has rejected a $62 billion takeover bid from Bayer as "incomplete and financially inadequate," but left the door open to further negotiations with the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant.

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New data show a surge in drug overdose deaths in Connecticut during the first three months of this year involving the opioid fentanyl.  The information was released on Friday by the State’'s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Gill.

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Why are prescription drugs so expensive? And what can be done to make them more affordable? A forum held Wednesday in Hartford aimed to answer those questions.

Heather Brandon illustration / WNPR

As heroin and opiate addictions continue to spread among middle class communities, families who never thought they’d face this problem are finding out one simple truth: treating someone for an addiction can be really, really costly. 

Scientists and doctors say the case is clear: The best way to tackle the country's opioid epidemic is to get more people on medications that have been proven in studies to reduce relapses and, ultimately, overdoses.

Yet, only a fraction of the more than 4 million people believed to abuse prescription painkillers or heroin in the U.S. are being given what's called medication-assisted treatment.

Heather Brandon illustration / WNPR

Dave Mountuori sipped on a coffee and leaned back in his chair at a doctor's office in New Haven. He's 26 years old, and he was there to get a drug that’s turning his life around. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Lawrence and Memorial Hospital is donating the life-saving anti-overdose drug Narcan to six police departments around southeastern Connecticut. 

Heather Brandon illustration / WNPR

When it comes to understanding heroin and opioid deaths, data matters. But across the country, medical examiners and coroners vary widely in just how much information they provide on death certificates.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

WNPR is launching a new series on the heroin epidemic gripping the state. This hour, we hear from one of the reporters leading the investigation.

Also, the state's ongoing budget problems are causing problems for a lot more people than just number crunchers and policy wonks. We check in with two former state employees who lost their jobs in a recent round of layoffs.

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Friday it will move to prevent its drugs from being used in lethal injections.

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Efforts to stem the tide of heroin overdoses in Connecticut could get more difficult if a powerful new heroin additive makes its way to the state.

Michael Burghardt couldn't sleep. His legs were shaking, his bones ached and he couldn't stop throwing up.

Burghardt was in the Valley Street Jail in Manchester, N.H. This was his 11th stay at the jail in the last 12 years. There had been charges for driving without a license, and arguments where the police were called. This time, Burghardt was in after an arrest for transporting drugs in a motor vehicle.

The musician Prince had an appointment to meet with an addiction doctor the day after he died, a lawyer for that doctor said during a news conference this afternoon.

Minnesota Public Radio reports:

Doctors in Vermont will soon face new limits on the number of narcotic pain pills they can prescribe to patients.

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If your cabinets are filled with leftover prescription drugs, you'll have an opportunity to clean them out on Saturday. 

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Physicians, patients, and drug manufacturers are often at the center of discussions about pain and opioid abuse. But what about insurance providers? One Connecticut company said it's found a way to better manage pain, while reducing the number of prescribed opioids. 

Jackie Filson / WNPR

Protein Sciences, the Meriden-based vaccine maker, is setting its sights on the Zika virus. 

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Two more fatal overdoses in southeastern Connecticut have once again highlighted the struggle that police and emergency services face in combating the heroin epidemic.

As part of a new statewide initiative in Connecticut, law enforcement will now treat all overdoses as crime scenes with the goal of getting to the source of the deadly drugs. 

Some users of LSD say one of the most profound parts of the experience is a deep oneness with the universe. The hallucinogenic drug might be causing this by blurring boundaries in the brain, too.

The Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has opened a new student-run pharmacy in downtown Schenectady. WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was on hand for the ribbon-cutting.

Pfizer and Allergan won't be merging after all, the companies announced Wednesday.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Irish competitor Allergan were planning to combine into the largest pharmaceutical giant in the world.

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Proponents of legalizing marijuana in Connecticut are urging state lawmakers to capitalize on the "novelty factor" of becoming the first New England state to allow recreational use of the drug. 

U.S. companies will find it much harder to reduce their taxes by merging with foreign firms under new rules introduced by the Obama administration, and that's already throwing the fate of one big deal in doubt.

Shares of Allergan were down sharply Tuesday, as investors questioned whether its $150 billion merger with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will still take place.

When Kevin Polly first started abusing Opana ER, a potent prescription opioid painkiller, he took pills — or fractions of pills — and crushed them into a fine powder, then snorted it.

When Opana pills are swallowed, they release their painkilling ingredient over 12 hours. If the pills were crushed and snorted, though, the drug was released in a single dose.

"Just think about it," Polly says, "12 hours of medicine, and, 'BAM!' you're getting it all at once."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Rep. Joe Courtney joins us to talk about what he's working on in Washington, D.C. for his constituents in eastern Connecticut. One national issue hitting his district particularly hard is the heroin epidemic. What is the federal government's role in combating this problem? 

Also, the U.S. Navy announced this week that Electric Boat would be the main contractor for a new submarine program. How's the health of the rest of the defense industry in the region?

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Senator Chris Murphy spent Monday taking a deep dive into Connecticut's heroin and opioid addiction crisis, what he called a "day in the life."

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A major group representing Connecticut doctors said it may support a bill limiting first-time opioid prescriptions if the final legislation allows prescribers some discretion. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford HealthCare has opened a new addiction treatment center in Cheshire as part of an effort to battle opioid addiction in as many communities as possible. 

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A bill that would allow children with certain medical conditions to be prescribed marijuana passed a key legislative committee Monday. 

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