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Yale Study On Opioid Misuse, OB-GYN Care Offers Hope To Pregnant Women Struggling With Addiction

May 3, 2021
Dr. Heather Lipkind (left) and Dr. Ariadna Forray (right) discuss the ProjectSMART trial at Yale School of Medicine, an initiative to provide OB-GYN care and management of opioid use disorder for pregnant women.
Anthony DeCarlo / Yale School of Medicine

When Amanda, 28, found out that she was pregnant with her second child, she was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggling with opioid use disorder.

“I was pretty heavy into my drug use,” said Amanda, whose last name is being withheld due to patient confidentiality. “I had given up hope and was figuring out a way to use drugs and get away with the consequences. But it doesn’t work like that.”

Jeng_Niamwhan/iStock / Thinkstock

Recovering from addiction is difficult in normal times, but managing recovery during a pandemic can be incredibly challenging. This hour, we talk about the challenges of navigating recovery during the pandemic. 

Under a bankruptcy plan filed late Monday night, Purdue Pharma would pay roughly $500 million in cash up front to settle hundreds of thousands of injury claims linked to the company's role in the deadly opioid epidemic.

The company said additional payments would be spread over the next decade, including installments on roughly $4.2 billion promised by members of the Sackler family who own the firm.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

A $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package facing a U.S. Senate vote includes funding for states and local communities to tackle behavioral health and addiction after record-level drug overdose deaths nationwide in 2020.

At a virtual roundtable Monday with Connecticut addiction prevention and treatment providers, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he hopes additional money will help boost on-the-ground efforts. 

Chion Wolf

As part of our Reports From Recovery series, today we’re hearing from two women whose heroin addictions shook up their lives, and put them right up close to the edge of existence.

Credit Jeng_Niamwhan/iStock / Thinkstock

Recovering from addiction is difficult in normal times, but managing recovery during a pandemic can be incredibly challenging. This hour, we talk about the challenges of navigating recovery during the pandemic. 

Sodanie Chea / Creative Commons

State lawmakers want to ban all flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products for good this legislative session to cut off their popularity with kids and teens.

Anti-smoking and public health advocates hope the bill will ultimately reduce vaping and tobacco addiction among youth, as well as address some racial health disparities. 

Connecticut is on track to lose a record number of lives to drug overdose this year. The most deadly year prior was 2019, with 1,200 overdose deaths. Numbers updated earlier this week show 1,032 overdose deaths so far in 2020.

Addiction affects people of all shapes and sizes. Skin tones and geographic locations. Ages, personalities, and genders. Today, meet two people who are committed to sobriety, and the Chief Clinical Officer at a treatment facility.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

State flags flew at half-staff Monday to honor the thousands of people in Connecticut who have died from a drug overdose over the years.

That includes Tony Morrissey’s son, Brian Cody Waldron, who died at 20 years old last August.  

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut legislators and health experts in Hartford Tuesday stressed that the number of opioid overdose deaths is up statewide. Evidence, they say, that the pandemic is interfering with addiction treatment and recovery.

“When we were doing our work in preparation for the pandemic, there was a lot of focus on children, on seniors, and on our individuals who are experiencing homelessness,” said Liany Arroyo, director of health for the city of Hartford. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

A young man with his girlfriend stood in the shade under an awning at the side of an RV truck parked near Barnard Park in Hartford on a recent Tuesday morning. Holding a bag in one hand and reaching through an opening in a screened door with the other, he dropped empty, used syringes into a medical waste bucket.

“Eighty-eight, eighty-nine, ninety,” he counted, each needle making a thunk as it disappeared into bright red plastic. 

Addiction Programs Adapt To Meet Challenges of Pandemic And A Rising Need

Jun 29, 2020

Earlier this year, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) examination of death certificates in the U.S. showed a sharp rise in alcohol-related deaths between 1999 and 2017. Connecticut mirrored those numbers, and addiction organizations stepped up their efforts to reach those in need.

Then came the pandemic. Treatment centers, support groups and the state were suddenly ordered to shut down.

Branimir Balogović / Pexels.com

You remember what the mother of Mr. Rogers said: Always look for the helpers.

Turns out, they're everywhere. Sometimes they're livestreaming themselves doing great work on social media, sometimes they're in a photo, smiling behind a mask as part of a group of volunteers (spaced six feet apart, of course), and sometimes you never even know they're there.

social distancing
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Just a couple of weeks ago, Mary Gotlibowski was still going from hospital to hospital, working as an emergency room recovery coach and meeting with patients who had survived a drug overdose or those who had come in seeking help for addiction.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread throughout Connecticut and hospitals began to admit infected patients, Gotlibowski and other coaches had to leave their posts in the emergency departments. 

package store sign
Alastair Battson / Creative Commons

Consider the plight of the alcoholic during this coronavirus shutdown. Liquor is still widely available at stores and even now via delivery. At the same time, social distancing means in-person recovery meetings are out of the question. Connecticut Public Radio's John Henry Smith spoke with Michael Askew, director of recovery advocacy for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery. 

narcan
Karen Brown / New England Public Radio

A couple of months ago, the most talked-about public health epidemic in New England was opioid addiction. While the COVID-19 pandemic has since taken over, the drug crisis has not gone away. But addressing it has become much harder.

She was in medical school. He was just out of prison.

Sarah Ziegenhorn and Andy Beeler's romance grew out of a shared passion to do more about the country's drug overdose crisis.

Ziegenhorn moved back to her home state of Iowa when she was 26. She had been working in Washington, D.C., where she also volunteered at a needle exchange. She was ambitious and driven to help those in her community who were overdosing and dying, including people she had grown up with.

health care providers
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut advocates for addiction treatment say proposed funding cuts to the federal Medicaid program would leave fewer resources for people with substance use disorders.

The proposed cuts are part of President Donald Trump’s federal budget plan, which was released earlier this month. It includes cuts to Medicaid, a program that provides health coverage for people in poverty, and the Affordable Care Act totaling about $1 trillion in the next decade. 

Erowid Center

The number of people who died in Connecticut from drug overdoses in 2019 was the most the state has recorded in a single year, even after a dip in deaths in 2018.

New state data show that 1,200 people died, an 18% jump from the previous year, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Debra Trueax knew she was struggling with an acute substance use disorder, but she wanted to hide it from family and friends. So when she went to a hospital in 2018, she had a plan.

“I went to the emergency room looking to get a bed and for mental health and addiction services,” she said. “I knew where I could get a bed where I could also sort of on the sly get treatment for substance abuse without anyone knowing.”

RYAN CARON KING / CT Public Radio

Connecticut expects to receive around $6 million in additional federal funding to help fight the opioid crisis. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced Thursday that the money will come from $1.5 billion recently approved by Congress to help states provide prevention and treatment efforts. 

Wonderlane / Creative Commons

When Kyle Zimmer started working in the construction industry 40 years ago, he said health and safety standards focused on reducing injuries and fatalities from electrical hazards, falls and a lack of protective gear.  

But today, he said the focus needs to be on addiction, suicide prevention and behavioral health.

Atascadero High School Hilltop News / Facebook

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban vaping products that are concealed as everyday items like smart watches, backpacks and phone cases. Blumenthal said these products are aimed at teenagers who are trying to "conceal and camouflage their addiction" from their teachers and parents.

Vaping360.com / Wikimedia Commons

Doctors and public health officials are still trying to figure out the cause behind more than 800 lung injuries related to vaping that have been reported in the U.S. in recent months.

At the same time, there is a longer-term public health crisis as more and more young people have become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarette use -- despite decades of declining traditional cigarette use among teens. 

This hour, we talk about these two public health crises. Do you vape nicotine products like Juul, or maybe use THC cartridges or vape pens from a dispensary? Has the current outbreak in lung injuries changed your vaping habits?

The 2011 casino law in Massachusetts required the state to help address problem gambling. About a year after MGM Springfield opened, health leaders say programs are rolling out.

Why does e-cigarette maker Juul advertise its product on TV when cigarette ads are banned? The short answer: Because it can.

For nearly 50 years, cigarette advertising has been banned from TV and radio. But electronic cigarettes — those battery-operated devices that often resemble oversized USB flash drives with flavored nicotine "pods" that clip in on the end — aren't addressed in the law.

A western Massachusetts sheriff announced Monday he’s mounting a fight against efforts to eliminate the involuntary addiction treatment program he runs in his jail.

Vaping 360 / Flickr

The state of Connecticut is launching an investigation into how one e-cigarette brand is marketed.

Attorney General William Tong announced on Wednesday that he’s sent a ‘civil investigative demand’ to Juul Labs Incorporated, the makers of Juul e-liquids.

Paramedic Peter Canning walks through Hartford’s Pope Park. He picks up empty heroin baggies as he passes by athletic fields, a public pool and a picnic pavilion where a few people appear to nod off.

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