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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.

A health official in Springfield, Massachusetts, said she was surprised by a jump in the number of opioid overdose deaths in the city, and she doesn't know why it happened.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Emails sent by the former chairman of Purdue Pharma are being seen by the public as a result of a complaint filed by the state of Connecticut.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

In her mid-20s, Sarah Howroyd was in a car accident with her fiancé. She suffered minor injuries to her neck and back, and the couple sought treatment for the pain.

“And we were prescribed an astronomical amount of Oxycontin,” she said.

It was the beginning of her long struggle with opioid addiction. 

A major pharmaceutical distribution company and two of its former executives are facing criminal charges for their roles in advancing the nation's opioid crisis and profiting from it.

Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

This hour, we look at how successful Governor Ned Lamont's first hundred days were, and what his plans are to create a "cost-efficient, user friendly" government. Meanwhile, he's at odds with fellow Democrats over a proposed controversal tax increase on the state's wealthy residents.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Between public testimonies on whether or not Connecticut should legalize recreational marijuana, legislators also heard from patients and health care providers Friday on proposed changes to the existing medical marijuana program.

Among them is a plan to add opioid use disorder as a condition that would qualify for treatment with medical cannabis, but many doctors testified against the idea, citing a lack of medical study.

Men are dying after opioid overdoses at nearly three times the rate of women in the United States. Overdose deaths are increasing faster among black and Latino Americans than among whites. And there's an especially steep rise in the number of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose death certificates include some version of the drug fentanyl.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut emergency departments will get free supplies of naloxone, the opioid antidote, to start distributing the reversal drug to patients as they leave the hospital.

diego_cervo/iStock / Thinkstock

In southeastern Connecticut, a team of Recovery Navigators is offering a hand -- and a sense of hope -- to residents with opioid drug addiction. This hour, we take an in-depth look at the work this team is doing.

We also hear why some municipal leaders -- including the mayor of New London, Connecticut -- are championing legislation that would grant municipalities the right to sue big pharma over the ongoing opioid crisis.

And finally, when it comes to Medicaid insurance, why are certified nurse midwives in Connecticut reimbursed at a lower rate than OB/GYN physicians? We take a closer look with Connecticut Public Radio health care reporter Nicole Leonard, and we also hear from you. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

While the total number of people who died from any overdose in 2018 is slightly down from the year before, fentanyl showed up in more than 75 percent of deaths—making it more common than heroin.

The 2019 tax season is here. Have you filed your forms? If so, good on you for not procrastinating. If not, you might want to reconsider waiting until the last minute... because the U.S. tax code has changed.

This hour, we take an in-depth look at the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and find out what it means for those filing taxes this year.

Later, Connecticut Public Radio’s Patrick Skahill takes us inside a UConn lecture hall, where students are learning the science of cultivating... get this... cannabis. 

Matthew Powell / Flickr

When it comes to gambling addiction, what segments of the U.S. population are most affected? This hour, we look at a new report by Connecticut Public Radio and the Sharing America initiative, which shines a light on the issue of problem gambling within the Southeast Asian refugee community.

Later, we discuss a new report on weight-based bullying and its effect on young members of the LGBTQ community. Dr. Rebecca Puhl of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity joins us and we also hear from you. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A methadone clinic in Norwich has been temporarily closed because of a maintenance issue, and that’s forcing more than 500 patients to seek help elsewhere. The Root Center for Advanced Recovery was shut down after contractors assessing the building for an upcoming renovation found a “significant structural integrity issue.”

 OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

This story was co-published by ProPublica with STAT.

Not content with billions of dollars in profits from the potent painkiller OxyContin, its maker explored expanding into an “attractive market” fueled by the drug’s popularity — treatment of opioid addiction, according to previously secret passages in a court document filed by the state of Massachusetts. 

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Frankieleon (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Nearly 9,000 children and teens have died from opioid poisonings since the epidemic began in the late 1990s, according to Yale epidemiologist Dr. Julie Gaither. An earlier Yale study found that about 30 kids a year died in hospitals, but this time her team analyzed data on deaths in all settings.

There's yet more disturbing news about kids vaping nicotine.

Vaping jumped dramatically again among high school students between 2017 and 2018.

In fact, it was the biggest one-year spike of any kind in the 44 years the Monitoring the Future survey has been tracking substance abuse by young people.

When Maddy Nadeau was a toddler, her mother wasn't able to care for her. "I remember Mom was always locking herself in her room and she didn't take care of me. My mom just wasn't around at the time," she says.

Every day, her older sister Devon came home from elementary school and made sure Maddy had something to eat.

"Devon would come home from school and fix them cold hot dogs or a bowl of cereal — very simple items that both of them could eat," says Sarah Nadeau, who fostered the girls and later adopted them.

Fried Dough / Flickr

Hartford is Connecticut’s first city to adopt an ordinance that’ll stop vendors from selling tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old.

Credit: Charles Williams (Flickr) / Creative Commons

A new opioid tracking program reports an average of 42 overdoses a month in a section of Hartford.

frankieleon / Creative Commons

Connecticut will benefit from almost $6 million in federal funding for organizations combating the opioid addiction crisis. The Department of Health and Human Services is awarding a total of $400 million in grants to states around the nation.

Domenic Esposito

One morning last June, a giant sculpture of a heroin spoon was dropped on the campus of Purdue Pharma in Stamford. It was a piece of protest art meant to hold the pharmaceutical company responsible for its role in the opioid epidemic.

Marco Verch / Creative Commons

This hour: pain, pharma, and the birth of a nation plagued by opioid abuse and overdose.

We talk to Beth Macy, author of Dopesick, about her investigation into the development, marketing, and widespread effect of OxyContin -- a prescription drug produced by Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma.

To what extent is the company responsible for America’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis? We take an in-depth look and we also hear from you. 

J Stimp / Creative Commons

Nearly ninety-percent of Americans own a smartphone.

On average, we spend more than four hours a day on our phones, which adds up to about 56 full days a year. That's like sealing yourself in a room on the first day of summer and not emerging until the kids head back to school. 

Paul Bass, New Haven Independent

Firefighters, police, and medics were among an army of first responders on the New Haven Green last week after reports of people losing consciousness, vomiting, and falling to the ground started streaming in. Crews transported victims to the hospital over 100 times as state and local officials scrambled to figure out what was going on.

Kevin Doncaster / flickr

The history of sugar is a complicated one. Once available to only the rich and powerful, sugar now shows up in everything from cereals and soups, to cigarettes and body scrubs. It is known to both have medicinal qualities and to contribute to a variety of health problems.

Diane Orson / Connecticut Public Radio

New Haven, Connecticut was the site of more than 100 overdoses last week -- drawing national attention to the city and to a synthetic drug known as K2.

But what exactly is this drug? And how did it wind up in the hands of so many here in Connecticut? This hour, an addiction psychiatrist from Silver Hill Hospital joins us to answer our questions.

Credit Jeng_Niamwhan/iStock / Thinkstock

The Addiction Resource Center (ARC) is an interactive website that provides information about substance use disorders as well as local addiction treatment centers and health care providers. 

Jesus Garzon

The Connecticut State Bond Commission approved funding for several community health centers in the state last week, including money to expand opioid addiction treatment at one facility in New Haven. 

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