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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. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

The New London area saw five more heroin overdose cases at the weekend; that brings the number in recent days to 14, including one death. 

Eric Molina/Creative Commons

New London saw an unprecedented number of heroin overdoses Thursday, leading health officials to warn of a potentially lethal type of the drug being sold in the city.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in Washington yesterday titled “Attacking America’s Epidemic of Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse.”  It came as legislators consider the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.  Several of the witnesses that appeared at the hearing were from the Northeast, including New Hampshire’s senators and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty joins us ahead of President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address. One of the big issues being pushed by the president is on guns. It's something that has been Esty's focus since she took office just after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. This hour, we check-in with the Democrat from the 5th congressional district.

Police in three western Massachusetts cities have seized thousands of bags of heroin and arrested more than a dozen people for heroin trafficking and distribution as they investigate recent overdose deaths. 

Police believe an exceptionally pure batch of heroin has caused the deaths of at least eight people in western Massachusetts in the last week.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has apologized for telling a Bridgton audience this week that out-of-state drug dealers were coming to Maine and impregnating white girls. But he refused to acknowledge the remarks were racist.

One day after he was arrested on fraud charges, controversial drug executive Martin Shkreli has resigned his post as the leader of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Shkreli is currently free on bail.

Turing announced the change Friday, naming Ron Tilles, its current board chairman, as the interim chief executive officer.

"We wish to thank Martin for helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research focused company it is today, and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Tilles said in a statement about the move.

Cape Cod is the setting of a new documentary about the nation’s growing opioid problem that airs on HBO later this month.

And as he campaigns for new measures to deal with the state’s opioid epidemic, Gov. Charlie Baker invited lawmakers and others involved in the issue to an early screening Tuesday night.

The U.S. drug giant Pfizer and its smaller rival Allergan have agreed to merge, creating the world's biggest pharmaceutical company by sales.

The $160 billion deal is the largest example so far of a corporate inversion, in which a U.S. company merges with a foreign company and shifts its domicile overseas in order to lower its corporate taxes.

Police in Springfield, Massachusetts are reporting one of the biggest heroin busts in the city in recent history.

Police, after what was described as a lengthy investigation, raided a home in the city’s Liberty Heights neighborhood Thursday night, and seized nearly 22,000 bags of heroin, three handguns, and about $3,000 cash. 

Springfield Police Dept. spokesman Sgt. John Delaney said the heroin has a street value estimated at $110,000.

woodleywonderworks/flickr creative commons

Dr. Mel Pohl, a medical specialist who works with chronic pain sufferers, says pain is REAL. That's his key point, and that there are ways to reclaim your life by avoiding addiction to opioids that often INCREASE pain without patients being aware of it. 

Frankie Leon / Flickr Creative Commons

Opioid overuse is America’s “silent epidemic,” affecting far too many of the roughly eight million people on opioid painkillers.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC says overprescribing is to blame.  "Every single day, 46 Americans die from an overdose of prescription opioid painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin or Methadone," he said. "These drugs are commonly prescribed in every community, and a surge in prescriptions has been the main force of this epidemic."

With his ambulance sirens blaring, Edmund Hassan speeds to a home in South Boston after getting a call that someone there is unconscious. He's deputy superintendent of Boston Emergency Medical Services, and he suspects an opioid overdose. These days, he says, his workers administer Narcan, the drug that reverses that kind of overdose, roughly three times in every eight-hour shift.

Wesleyan University / Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

One of the three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Medicine refined his award-winning discovery while studying at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Satoshi Omura won the prize for his work unearthing a compound later developed into the drug Ivermectin.

Gov. Maggie Hassan, alongside dozens of law enforcement officers, medical experts and advocates Tuesday, announced a new campaign designed to tackle the state’s opioid epidemic.

The price of a medication that can reverse a drug overdose has doubled over the past year. Now Rhode Island  will be getting a small break in the price of Narcan (the brand name for naloxone).               

His ambulance sirens blaring and several police scanners transmitting information simultaneously, Boston Emergency Medical Services Deputy Superintendent Edmund Hassan is speeding to a call that someone is unconscious. Because his workers administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone (more commonly known by its brand name, Narcan) about three times a night, he suspects it’s an opioid overdose.

The radios crackle, and it’s confirmed: an overdose. Additional workers are dispatched to the scene.

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