WBUR Staff

Deborah Becker

Host/Reporter, WBUR

Deborah Becker is a reporter and host at WBUR.  Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

Deb is also a substitute host on several WBUR programs and helps produce and report for various WBUR special series. Deb also worked on the launch of WRNI, Rhode Island’s NPR News Station, where she served as Morning Edition host and host of the weekly show “Focus Rhode Island.”  Before coming to WBUR, she worked at Monitor Radio, the broadcast arm of The Christian Science Monitor newspaper. Deb has received numerous awards for her hosting, newscasts, reporting, and investigative reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA), Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, National Education Writers Association, Associated Press, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Parent/Professional Advocacy League and United Press International. She also completed several fellowships on addiction, mental health, juvenile justice and journalism and the law.

Deb studied journalism at St. Bonaventure University. She lives with her family in central Massachusetts.

Recent stories

As Mass. Lawmakers Take Up Addiction Bill, What’s Most Effective Treatment?

July 29, 2014
Hydrocodone pills, also known as Vicodin. (Toby Talbot/AP)

As Massachusetts lawmakers take up the $20 million bill aimed at addressing the state’s opioid crisis, questions about the best treatments remain.

Market Basket Uprising A Unique Labor Dispute, Expert Says

July 23, 2014

BOSTON — A Suffolk University Law School professor who specializes in labor law says the ongoing employee protests at Market Basket calling for the reinstatement of former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas are unlike anything he has ever seen.

The Student View Of Sexual Assault On Campus

July 11, 2014
From left to right, MIT's Alex Burgess, Harvard's Langston Ward and UMass Amherst's Alex Conrad. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

BOSTON — We speak with three area college students — two females and a male — about the issue.

How Addiction Can Affect Brain Connections

July 10, 2014

A growing body of research shows that addiction is a complex brain disease that affects people differently. But the research also raises hopes about potential treatments.

Mass. Lawmakers To Debate Parole For Juveniles Convicted Of Murder

July 08, 2014

BOSTON — Massachusetts Sen. William Brownsberger, the co-chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, joined WBUR’s Morning Edition to talk about what to expect from Tuesday’s deliberations.

Low-Paid Mass. Prosecutors Receive Small Salary Bump

July 01, 2014

BOSTON — The $36.5 billion state budget includes salary increases for some public safety officials but only modest raises for Massachusetts prosecutors who are the lowest paid in New England.

N.E. Governors Promise Regional Strategy To Combat Opioid ‘Scourge’

June 17, 2014

WALTHAM, Mass. — Five governors said overdose rates in their states are rising and affecting the quality of life of all residents.

Attleboro Native Gears Up For The World Cup

June 13, 2014

BOSTON — Geoff Cameron, 28, is a starting defenseman on the U.S. men’s soccer team — and an Attleboro native. He’s in Brazil gearing up for the World Cup.

Could Medical Marijuana Help Stem The Opiate Addiction Crisis?

June 11, 2014
medical marijuana sign

BOSTON — Marijuana is touted as a treatment for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and anxiety — and some say it may be a way to help alleviate Massachusetts’ opiate crisis. But that idea is causing some tension in the addiction treatment community.

Opiates On The Islands: Nantucket Drug Concerns Rise With Vacationers

June 04, 2014
Dr. Tim Lepore is a surgeon at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, the island’s only hospital. (Deborah Becker/WBUR)

Many say the opiate problem is exacerbated by the wealth and isolation of the island, and the tens of thousands of vacationers who arrive every summer.

Opiates On The Islands: Overdoses, Arrests Surge On Martha’s Vineyard

June 03, 2014
Police in Edgartown say fishermen regularly find syringes on this secluded beach. "They’ll buy out on the street, come back here, and hide and shoot up,” says Det. Sgt. Chris Dolby. (Deborah Becker/WBUR)

Since August, there have been six fatal opiate overdoses on the island. Arrests for heroin and other opiates have also skyrocketed.

‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’ Blogger Reveals Regrets, Hopes For Mental Health Care

May 30, 2014

Blogger Liza Long says her message–that the mental health care system is broken–hasn’t changed.

Mass. Parole Board Weighs Release Of Man Serving Life For Juvenile Crime

May 30, 2014
Joseph Donovan, during his parole hearing Thursday (Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe/APPool)

BOSTON — During hours of intense questioning, 38-year-old Joseph Donovan told the parole board that he is a changed man. But some board members appeared skeptical.

Dookhan Was Drug Lab’s ‘Sole Bad Actor,’ Report Says

March 04, 2014
Annie Dookhan, in late 2012 (Steven Senne, Pool/AP)

BOSTON — “However … deficiencies at the Drug Lab created an atmosphere that allowed for [Annie] Dookhan to commit her crimes,” the state inspector general wrote in his review.

Boston Doctor Chosen For New National Effort To Reform Forensic Testing

February 21, 2014

BOSTON — With the Massachusetts Inspector General expected to release his report on the state drug lab crisis any day now, a local doctor is part of a new national effort to reform forensic testing.

How Mass. Should Deal With Convictions Affected By Dookhan

January 10, 2014
Annie Dookhan leaves Suffolk Superior Court after being arraigned Dec. 20, 2012. (Joe Spurr/WBUR)

BOSTON — Matt Segal of the Massachusetts ACLU discusses the criminal cases that linger as the state investigates the drug lab scandal.

ACLU Asks Mass. High Court For ‘Comprehensive Remedy’ For Drug Lab Cases

January 09, 2014

The court is again being asked for guidance on how to deal with criminal convictions thrown into question by the state drug lab crisis.

Forensic Testing A Problem In Several States

December 31, 2013

Congress could take up legislation in 2014 aimed at improving oversight of the nation’s crime labs. Critics say lawmakers need to take action after several lab scandals.

Reviewing The Annie Dookhan Drug Lab Crisis

December 26, 2013

WBUR’s Deborah Becker, who has been reporting on the drug lab scandal all year, looks back on the case and at the unresolved legal ramifications of chemist Annie Dookhan’s actions.

Dookhan’s Lawyer: She Had A ‘Lapse In Judgment’

November 29, 2013

Convicted former chemist Annie Dookhan has never spoken publicly about the drug lab crisis. We speak with her lawyer, now that she’s in prison.

Forensic Testing Questions Remain After Dookhan Sentence

November 23, 2013

Former chemist Annie Dookhan began her first full day in prison Saturday, but lingering questions persist about state oversight of forensic testing.

Dookhan Pleads Guilty, Gets 3-5 Years In Prison

November 22, 2013
Annie Dookhan, in late 2012 (Steven Senne, Pool/AP)

Disgraced former state chemist Annie Dookhan is on her way to prison for a drug lab crisis that’s created turmoil throughout the Massachusetts criminal justice system.

Mass. General Hospital Launches Addiction Research Center

October 31, 2013

BOSTON — Some of the area’s leading addiction researchers and clinicians are joining together to try to help people struggling with addiction and substance use disorders.

Date Set For Dookhan To Change Plea

October 29, 2013

BOSTON — A former state chemist is expected to plead guilty to charges of falsifying thousands of drug tests and throwing the entire Massachusetts criminal justice system into a tailspin.

Portraits Of Boston: A Different Way To See Strangers

August 09, 2013
portraits of boston

BOSTON — Photographer Ivan Velinov says he looks for interesting Bostonians who look open to sharing their stories on his blog Portraits of Boston.

Beloved Garden At Center Of Children’s Hospital Building Dispute

July 25, 2013
Prouty Garden, at Boston Children’s Hospital (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

BOSTON — Prouty Garden has been a sanctuary for stressed families, sick children and hospital staff since 1956. But Boston Children’s Hospital says it needs to expand, and is promising more green space overall. It’s a battle over emotional ground.

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