drugs

Heather Brandon / WNPR

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. 

Allan Foster / Creative Commons

A bill that would give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs and treatments currently not approved by the Food and Drug Administration is working its way through the state legislature. 

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Wesleyan University said two of the five students arrested on drug charges following a rash of on-campus overdoses have been expelled. 

Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley said in a campus-wide letter that the judicial process is continuing for the other three students, who are currently suspended. 

Hospitals are one of the worst places to try to get a good night's sleep, just when you need it the most. And though many have tried to muffle the noise of beeping monitors and clattering carts, the noise remains a big problem for many patients.

But what if we looked at a night in the hospital as a long overseas flight? As you settle in, they hand out eye masks and earplugs. And you cleverly brought along melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone sold at drugstores everywhere.

The divide between Republicans and Democrats on pot politics is narrowing, President Barack Obama said in an interview Monday.

Middletown Police Department

Police have arrested a fifth Wesleyan University student on drug charges stemming from on-campus overdoses that sent a dozen people to the hospital. 

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AIDS Connecticut’s syringe exchange program is the first in the state to start distributing Naloxone to injecting drug users. The medication can be administered to reverse opioid overdoses.

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Police say that only one Wesleyan University student remains hospitalized following a rash of drug overdoses last weekend that left a dozen people in need of medical treatment.

Lt. Heather Desmond of Middletown police said Thursday that the family of the patient at Hartford Hospital is not authorizing the release of details on the student's condition. 

Joe Mabel / Creative Commons

Police say four Wesleyan University students arrested this week after about a dozen people who took the party drug Molly were hospitalized are known on campus as drug dealers.

Brendan Dolan-Gavitt / Creative Commons

Four Wesleyan University students have been arrested on drug charges in connection with about a dozen hospitalizations among people who took the party drug MDMA, also known as Molly.

The students have been suspended from the university. Charges include possession of a controlled substance, illegal obtaining and supplying of drugs, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

Alaska's voter initiative making marijuana legal takes effect Tuesday, placing Alaska alongside Colorado and Washington as the three U.S. states where recreational marijuana is legal. The new law means people over age 21 can consume small amounts of pot — if they can find it. It's still illegal to sell marijuana.

"You can still give people marijuana, but you can't buy it — or even barter for it," Alaska Public Media's Alexandra Gutierrez reports. "So, it's a pretty legally awkward spot. That probably won't stop people from acquiring it, though."

Nicole Cho / Creative Commons

Police are trying to trace the source of a possibly bad batch of MDMA – a drug also known as Molly – after ten students and two visitors overdosed at Wesleyan University. As of Monday afternoon, eight people remained hospitalized.

Nicole Cho / Creative Commons

Wesleyan University's president said ten students and two visitors to the school received medical treatment after taking a version of the party drug known as Molly on Sunday.

President Mark Roth said eight of those affected remained hospitalized Monday morning, but four of them should be released later in the day. The other four were expected to remain at Hartford Hospital, where two were listed in critical condition. 

New findings have lead researchers to believe that the link between marijuana and hunger is not just psychological.  Recently published in Nature, Yale professor Tamas Horvath, with his colleagues at the Yale School of Medicine, have monitored the brain circuitry that promotes eating and have found that neurons in the brain which are used to suppress appetite remain active while using cannabis.   

Governor Dannel Malloy / Twitter

An executive at a Connecticut vaccine manufacturer said it is difficult to consider expanding in the state because the governor's administration won't commit to buying the vaccine for state workers.

Dan Adams, executive chairman of Meriden-based Protein Sciences, which makes the Flublok vaccine, said he was frustrated that Governor Dannel Malloy received a flu shot made by an overseas company. A Malloy spokesman said the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District administered the vaccine to the governor last Friday, using what was available.

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.

When Sara Martín's children were infants, she made sure they got all the recommended immunizations.

"And then somewhere when they became toddlers I started to fall a little behind on the vaccinations," she says. "Not intentionally — just, that's kind of how it happened for me."

Martín is 29 years old and a single mother of two. She says it was a huge chore to travel from her home in East Los Angeles to a community clinic downtown.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Do you know anyone who’s ever had measles, mumps, or rubella? Those diseases have essentially been wiped out in the U.S. because of effective and widespread adoption of vaccines. 

But that might be changing. Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that last year, there were more than 600 measles cases in the U.S., and that was more than there have been for a long time. "This year, there were 100 in January alone," he said.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A state representative has asked for a study of laws and policies governing vaccine exemption to determine if waivers intended for genuine religious objections are being used by parents personally opposed to vaccinations.

The Hartford Courant reports that State Representative Matt Ritter, House chairman of the Public Health Committee, wants a study of exemption laws and policies in states with the same waivers as Connecticut.

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Non-violent drug offenders in Connecticut soon may get a second chance.

Governor Dannel Malloy announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at drug law reform on Tuesday, which he deemed the "Second Chance Society" initiative, which he said would further reduce crime and reintegrate non-violent offenders into society. The proposals directly contrast zero-tolerance policy stemming from President Ronald Reagan's 1982 launch of the “War on Drugs."

Malloy’s reforms include reclassifying drug possession as a misdemeanor (unless there is intent to sell), eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, revamping the parole and pardons systems to help ex-offenders get jobs, and investing in housing for ex-offenders as they re-enter society. Malloy announced Wednesday he also wants to expand education and employment opportunities for ex-convicts. 

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The Department of Consumer Protection has drafted regulations that would add three medical conditions to the eleven already in place, that qualify patients in Connecticut to use medical marijuana. They include sickle cell disease, severe psoriasis, and chronic radiculopathy, a type of recurring back pain after surgery.

Commissioner Jonathan Harris said the approval process for medical conditions is rigorous, and "when you boil it down to its essence, the question is whether the palliative use of marijuana would alleviate the pain, alleviate the symptoms, complications or actually slow down the disease process."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Alzheimer’s Association says about five million people in the United States have some form of dementia. They expect that number to increase dramatically as baby boomers age and more people live longer. By 2050, we can expect that number to rise to about a million new diagnoses every year.

Unless things change, many of us will end up in nursing homes.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"Molly" is the nickname for MDMA, or Ecstasy, and it's short for "Molecule", meaning you're getting the "real thing", chemically speaking. Except you almost never do. On this show, we'll talk about the dangers of Molly, the medical uses of MDMA, and the curious romance between the drug and the form of music known as EDM, Electronic Dance Music.

When Priscilla Graham-Farmer went to get her hair done in Newark, N.J., recently, she noticed the elevator in the building was broken, so she took the stairs. And that's when Graham-Farmer saw him: a young guy sprawled out, not breathing.

"He was literally turning blue," she says. "And everybody was walking over him."

But Graham-Farmer stopped. And looked closer. She saw that he had a needle and some cotton balls. The guy had clearly overdosed.

"I'm screaming in the hallway," Graham-Farmer remembers. "Nobody's answering."

For a few weeks last year, Michael Tranfaglia and Katie Clapp saw a remarkable change in their son, Andy, who'd been left autistic and intellectually disabled by fragile X syndrome. Andy, who is 25, became more social, more talkative and happier. "He was just doing incredibly well," his father says.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Young human brains are delicate, developing things. A panel last week in Middletown focused on how the brain can be affected by drugs, alcohol, and technology. 

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency conducted surprise inspections of the staff of at least three National Football League teams on Sunday.

CNN reports:

"The DEA questioned the medical and training staffs of the San Francisco 49ers following the team's 16-10 victory at the New York Giants, agency spokesman Rusty Payne told CNN.

Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, has been discharged from the Navy after testing positive for cocaine, a source familiar with the matter tells NPR's Tom Bowman.

Navy spokesman Cmd. Ryan Perry tells Tom:

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.

Chion Wolf

Living in Hartford almost all my life I've known for years the story of Horace Wells. At least, I know the story I know, which is that Wells was a Hartford dentist who introduced anesthesia. He may have been the first but I've always known there were other pretenders to that crown. 

I also knew that Wells became addicted to one of those products and died a horrible, tragic and ignominious death.

But, that's all I knew and I wondered how widely known that story was. 

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