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A pipe was the only sign of drug use near Chris Bennett’s body, in November. But it looked like the 32-year-old Taunton native had stopped breathing and died of an opioid overdose. Bennett’s mother Liisa couldn’t understand what happened. Then she saw the toxicology report.

“I’m convinced he was smoking cocaine that was laced,” she says. “That’s what he had in his system was cocaine and fentanyl.”

tanjila ahmed (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Massachusetts is rolling out legal recreational marijuana sales this summer, with pot shops scheduled to open in July.

Source: United States Census Bureau, Connecticut Department of Public Health Credit: Patrick Skahill

Figures on overdose deaths grab headlines, but treatment data could save lives. In response, health officials have released new information on emergency room visits for drug overdoses, numbers that paint a fuller picture of the state's opioid crisis.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

They've gone years without a raise. Now, members of Connecticut's private group home workforce are calling for a boost in support from the state.

With a possible strike looming this April, we speak to Josh Kovner from the Hartford Courant for an update. 

The legal retail of marijuana in Massachusetts begins July 1. That’s prompted Connecticut lawmakers to once again consider legislation to allow the sale of marijuana in the state. Similar legislation failed last year.

Lydia Brown / WNPR

It’s the deadliest drug crisis in our nation’s history and communities in Connecticut are coming together to talk about solutions.

This hour, we listen back to a recent opioid panel recorded at Gateway Community College in New Haven.

What’s the best way to support individuals and families battling substance abuse -- especially when one size does not fit all?

Drugmakers gave millions of dollars to pain-treatment advocacy groups over a five-year period beginning in 2012, in effect promoting opioids to individuals most vulnerable to addiction, according to a new report released Monday by a U.S. senator.

Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma, the Stamford-based maker of Oxycontin, says it will no longer be marketing its bestselling opioid to physicians. 

Lydia Brown / WNPR

It’s the deadliest drug crisis in our nation’s history and communities in Connecticut are coming together to talk about solutions.

This hour, we listen back to a recent opioid panel recorded at Gateway Community College in New Haven.

What’s the best way to support individuals and families battling substance abuse -- especially when one size does not fit all?

tanjila ahmed (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Just as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he was cracking down on pot, Connecticut’s medical marijuana program announced that it was looking for more dispensaries. The challenges could just be getting started.

Erowid Center

It’s been declared a national public health emergency. In the United States, the annual number of deaths from opioid overdose has surpassed the number of deaths during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the ‘90s.

But opioid users aren’t the only victims of this crisis. 

The Vermont Senate has given its approval to legislation legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. On a voice vote, the Senate backed a bill Wednesday that allows individuals to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow two mature plants.

Mark/flickr creative commons

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ramping up federal enforcement of marijuana laws. That could put medical marijuana businesses and patients in Connecticut at risk.

Justin Brockie / Creative Commons

Across New England, freezing temps and blizzard conditions marked an unforgiving start to 2018.

This hour, we consider the factors underlying this extreme winter weather -- including the role of global climate change. 

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scrapping Obama-era guidelines that essentially removed marijuana from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities as more states legalized it.

In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, has long viewed pot as a public menace and a source of street crime.

MMCT

The partnership of two tribes in Connecticut urged the federal government Tuesday to issue a final ruling on whether it can continue with plans to build a third casino in Connecticut. 

CT VA

Last winter, a veteran was revived with Narcan after he overdosed on heroin and collapsed just outside the doors of the VA hospital in West Haven. In 2016, another veteran at the West Haven facility was not so lucky. He died of an overdose in a public restroom.

Before retail sales of marijuana begin in Massachusetts, researchers are studying the drug's current effect on public safety.

Driving down the main commercial artery in Muncie, Ind., it seems the job market is doing well. The local unemployment rate stands at 3.8 percent, and there are hiring signs posted outside the McDonald's, a pizza joint and at stop lights.

Around 2007 — the last time the market was so tight — job applicants came streaming through the offices of Express Employment Professionals, a staffing agency that screens and places about 120 workers a month, mostly at the local manufacturing firms.

Daniel Case / Creative Commons

The city of Waterbury has filed a lawsuit accusing multiple pharmaceutical companies of causing the opioid addiction and overdose crisis. 

Erowid Center

The office of Connecticut's Chief Medical Examiner released some grim statistics earlier this week. With a record 539 accidental drug deaths in the first six months of 2017, this could be the deadliest year ever for drug overdoses in Connecticut.

Melissa Johnson/flickr creative commons

Connecticut is on track to record a grim statistic this year: more than 1,000 deaths by drug overdose. 

A year ago, Maine was one of the first states to set limits on opioid prescriptions. The goal in capping the dose of prescription painkillers a patient could get was to stem the flow of opioids that are fueling a nationwide epidemic of abuse.

Maine's law, considered the toughest in the U.S., is largely viewed as a success. But it has also been controversial — particularly among chronic pain patients who are reluctant to lose the medicine they say helps them function.

ep_jhu / Creative Commons

In 2016, there were 917 accidental drug deaths in Connecticut, most of them from opioid abuse, according to the office of the state’s Chief Medical Examiner.

ep_jhu / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s Wheeler Clinic is piloting a new outreach program aimed at cutting the rate of opioid addiction among teenage girls. 

Big Heroin Trafficking Organization Busted In Springfield

Aug 10, 2017

Local, state and federal law enforcement officials say they have busted a "high level heroin trafficking organization" in western Massachusetts. 

All but two of the 15 people appointed to advise marijuana regulators in Massachusetts reside in cities and towns that favored the legalization of recreational pot.

Philip Kirby says he first used heroin during a stint in a halfway house a few years ago, when he was 21 years old. He quickly formed a habit.

"You can't really dabble in it," he says.

Late last year, Kirby was driving with drugs and a syringe in his car when he got pulled over. He went to jail for a few months on a separate charge before entering a drug court program in Hamilton County, Ind., north of Indianapolis. But before Kirby started, he says the court pressured him to get a shot of a drug called Vivitrol.

Nikita2706 / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in its history, the Food and Drug Administration has announced it’s looking at ways to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.

A White House commission released a report this week on America's opioid crisis with an urgent recommendation — that President Trump declare it a national emergency.

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