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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. 

Connecticut lawmakers are moving closer toward allowing qualified patients under 18-years-old to use medical marijuana to treat their debilitating illnesses.

The General Assembly’s Public Health Committee overwhelmingly approved the proposed legislation on Monday. It now awaits further action in the House of Representatives.

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Doctors in Connecticut may soon be limited to writing a seven-day prescription for opioid-based medication. It's part of an effort to curb drug overdose deaths in the state.

Here's how I knew I liked Patti Trabosh.

It goes back to the very first time I called her out of the blue to ask whether I might profile her family for a story on opioid addiction. The very first words out of her mouth were, "I'm pissed off!"

Trabosh went on to explain why she was angry. First, it was the struggle to find a bed in a drug treatment program for her 22-year-old son Nikko Adam. He had become addicted to prescription painkillers and then heroin when he was still in high school. He'd been in rehab twice before, and relapsed both times.

Doctors have long disputed the accusation that the payments they receive from pharmaceutical companies have any relationship to how they prescribe drugs.

There's been little evidence to settle the matter, until now.

A ProPublica analysis has found that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed prescribe drugs differently on average than their colleagues who don't. And the more money they receive, the more brand-name medications they tend to prescribe.

State lawmakers will consider several bills designed to fight opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services has scheduled a suite of bills designed to address the state’s ongoing heroin and prescription drug crisis. One would mandate insurance coverage for at least 90 days of inpatient addiction treatment for patients who meet certain standards. That’s in contrast to the 30 days or less most insurers allow. 

The epidemic of opioid abuse that's swept the U.S. has left virtually no community unscathed, from big cities to tiny towns.

In fact, drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury death in this country: more than gun deaths; more than car crashes.

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Walgreens announced plans to install take-back kiosks for prescription drugs at pharmacies around the country and in Connecticut, but the state's Department of Consumer Protection said those kiosks aren't likely to appear here anytime soon. 

When she was 17, Tracey Helton Mitchell was prescribed an opioid pain killer after getting her wisdom teeth extracted. The medicine helped her deal with the pain related to the extraction, but when the prescription ran out, her desire for its euphoric high remained. That's when she turned to heroin.

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This hour -- from Maine to New Hampshire; Vermont to Massachusetts -- we learn how some of our New England neighbors are working to stem opioid addiction and overdose. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

According to the CDC, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012. That's enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills at home. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Take a look inside your cupboard or medicine cabinet and you're likely to find pills from prior visits to the doctor. 

C-SPAN

Democrats in the U.S. Senate used debate on a bipartisan opioid abuse prevention bill to call for action on President Barack Obama’s eventual nominee to the Supreme Court.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill that would let prosecutors seek felony charges in possession cases involving heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl and more than 14 grams of cocaine is gaining support.

The Portland Press Herald reports that members of the Maine Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 8-4 Monday in Augusta in favor of the bill.

The bill would also downgrade possession of small amounts of oxycodone pills to a misdemeanor.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Sen. Susan Collins has joined the growing number of senators calling for passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. 

The measure would provide for additional prevention and education efforts aimed at the drug crisis and for additional resources to treat addicted jail inmates.

"It is clear Mr. President that we need to take a comprehensive approach to this epidemic and the bill before us is a vital step forward," Collins said today on the Senate floor.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When a woman addicted to opioids gives birth, she usually leaves her baby behind to be cared for by nurses. However, one Connecticut hospital is rethinking that approach. This hour, we find out why with WNPR reporter Jeff Cohen. 

Lori Mack / WNPR

Alexion Pharmaceuticals said it will have 1,000 workers at its new headquarters building in New Haven by the end of this month. Connecticut’s most successful homegrown bioscience company, Alexion showed off its global headquarters Monday. 

A Boston nonprofit plans to soon test a new way of addressing the city's heroin epidemic. The idea is simple. Along a stretch of road that has come to be called Boston's "Methadone Mile," the program will open a room in March with a nurse, some soft chairs and basic life-saving equipment — a place where heroin users can ride out their high, under medical supervision.

As the second month of the year draws to a close, Gov. Charlie Baker appears to be growing more frustrated with the Legislature’s pace in passing his comprehensive opioid bill.

The legislation remains bottled up in a conference committee that’s working out the differences between the House and Senate.

A new Massachusetts law criminalizing the trafficking of fentanyl is taking effect.

The law creates the crime of trafficking in fentanyl for amounts greater than 10 grams with punishment of up to 20 years in state prison. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Cathy Fennelly tried to save her son from heroin addiction.

For eight years, she tried to help him get sober. She told him he couldn't come home unless he was in treatment. It tormented her, knowing that he might be sleeping on the streets, cold at night.

But nothing worked. In 2015, she found him dead from an overdose on her front step.

"No matter how many detoxes I put him in, no matter how many mental facilities; I emptied out my 401(k), I sold my jewelry," she says. "This will never get easier. Never."

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut held a forum in New London to hear from state public health officials, addiction treatment centers and police chiefs from Southeastern Connecticut about the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Families affected by the epidemic of opiate addiction got a chance to share their stories with the Director of National Drug Control Policy Tuesday, at a forum in New London.

It's no secret that stimulant medications such as Adderall that are prescribed to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are sometimes used as "study drugs" aimed at boosting cognitive performance.

And emergency room visits linked to misuse of the drug are on the rise, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

A federal bill that provides money for addiction treatment and drug prevention has passed its first hurdle. Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen co-sponsored the legislation. 

The bill calls for additional dollars for a number of areas including treatment for people battling addiction while in prison, drug prevention efforts in schools, and expanding access to the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed the measure by a unanimous vote. But how much of the bill’s $70 million would go to New Hampshire is unknown.

Law enforcement officials would love to have a clear way to tell when a driver is too drugged to drive. But the decades of experience the country has in setting limits for alcohol have turned out to be rather useless so far because the mind-altering compound in cannabis, THC, dissolves in fat, whereas alcohol dissolves in water.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown New London Thursday night in a vigil aimed at drawing attention to the recent epidemic of heroin overdoses. 

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