Opioid Addiction Crisis

New Addiction Treatment Implant Will Hit The Market Next Month At $4,950

May 27, 2016
A graphic shows how the implant is placed inside the skin of a person's upper arm. (Courtesy Braeburn Pharmaceuticals)

The FDA has approved the implant, but the debate over how effective it will be and whether insurers will cover its $4,950 price tag continues.

The Promise And Price Of New Addiction Treatment Implant

May 19, 2016
A graphic shows how the implant is placed inside the skin of a person's upper arm. (Courtesy Braeburn Pharmaceuticals)

A drug company is touting the benefits of a new implant designed to deliver a continuous dose of an existing and popular opioid treatment drug.

State’s Opioid Epidemic Is Vividly Seen On Boston’s ‘Methadone Mile’

May 13, 2016
Pardini reaches down to check on a person sleeping on a piece of cardboard on Melnea Cass Boulevard. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“This has to be the worst section of the city right now,” Vinny Pardini, a resident at a recovery program, says of the one-mile stretch of Massachusetts Avenue. “It’s full of active addicts, using on a daily basis.”

Kind World #26: Finding James

May 12, 2016
James Carlsen (Courtesy of Kathy Carlsen)

James Carlsen’s guitar never left his side until he sold it to feed his heroin addiction.

Sudders, Bharel Discuss Release Of 2015 Opioid Death Numbers

May 02, 2016

New numbers released Monday show that 1,379 people died from opioid overdoses in the state in 2015. And that number is expected to top 1,500 once all death investigations are complete.

Mass. Opioid Crisis Continued To Worsen In 2015

May 02, 2016
A used needle is disposed of by the city’s needle gathering unit in Roxbury last year. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

There were 1,379 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts last year, and more are estimated.

Some Doctors Say Focus Of Opioid Addiction Treatment Must Shift From Medication To Long-Term Recovery

May 02, 2016
Opioids include drugs like OxyContin, which are arranged in this 2013 file photo at a pharmacy. (Toby Talbot/AP)

While most say medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction improves patient outcomes, some doctors are questioning seeking a cure from the same industry they say caused the problem.

As Mass. Grapples With Opioid Crisis, More Babies Are Being Born Exposed To Drugs

March 25, 2016
James smiles and claps as occupational therapist Victoria Peake tests his development  during a check up at the Newborn Developmental Follow up Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. Director of the Clinic, Dr. Leslie Kerzner is seated left and James' adoptive mother Kristen Fountaine in the center. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The most recent state hospital data suggest that the rate of drug dependent newborns has skyrocketed to about 16 in every 1,000 births — about three times the national average.

Sudders: Combating Mass. Opioid Crisis ‘Is Going To Take Us Time,’ Even With New Law

March 15, 2016
Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders speaks about the opioids legislation signed into law just moments earlier by Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a new bill designed to combat the state’s deadly opioid crisis. The state’s health and human services secretary, Mary Lou Sudders, explains what measures went into effect immediately.

Baker Signs Compromise Opioid Bill Into Law

March 14, 2016
Surrounded by lawmakers and health and public safety officials, Gov. Charlie Baker signs the opioid bill into law on Monday at the State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The bill includes a seven-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions, new efforts to evaluate patients within 24 hours after an overdose and addiction screening for students.

Compromise Opioid Bill Caps First-Time Prescriptions At 7 Days

March 08, 2016

The compromise bill released by a House and Senate conference committee rejects stricter controls proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The Opioid Treatment Business Is Booming

March 01, 2016
Recovery Centers of America is spending some $20 million to renovate the former Hunt Hospital in Danvers into what will eventually be a 210 bed substance use treatment center. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“[I]t’s an industry that unfortunately is seeing exploding demand,” said Leslie Henshaw, of a New York private equity firm that specializes in health care investing.

Gov. Baker Appears To Be Growing Frustrated With Lack Of Movement On Opioid Bill

February 24, 2016
Gov. Charlie Baker listens as President Obama speaks during a meeting with fellow governors at the White House on Monday. The governors spoke about the opioid addiction crisis. /Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

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

Health Leaders Want Warnings Highlighting Deadly Risks Of Opioid, Benzo Combos

February 23, 2016
Opioids include drugs like OxyContin, which are arranged in this 2013 file photo at a pharmacy. (Toby Talbot/AP)

Public health leaders are calling on the FDA to make sure doctors and patients understand the risks of using opioids and benzodiazepines together.

Price Of User-Friendly Form Of Overdose Reversal Drug Spikes

February 12, 2016
Evzio’s “Trainer.” (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Evzio, the user-friendly, pocket-sized device, was $690 when it hit the market in July 2014. In November 2015, the wholesale price rose to $900. At the beginning of February, it increased 500 percent to $4,500.

Bill Would Let Addicts Turn In Drugs Without Fear Of Prosecution

February 08, 2016
The bill is inspired by an initiative in Gloucester, where police have started helping addicts get into treatment. Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello, pictured here, says since launching the initiative about eight months ago, his department has gotten 400 people into treatment. (Elise Amendola/AP)

The bill is inspired by an initiative in Gloucester, where police have started helping addicts get into treatment.

Salisbury Woman’s Death Shows The Complications In Responding To Opioid Crisis

January 29, 2016
Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport is seen on Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Gretchen Fordham received the overdose reversal drug Narcan in the ER. But she still left the hospital with a prescription for opioid pain pills.

New Law Ends Civil Commitments To State Prison For Women

January 25, 2016

State officials have been promising since 1987 to stop civil commitments to the prison.

Mass. AG’s Office Announces Coalition To Fight Illegal Opioid Prescribing

January 20, 2016

Attorney General Maura Healey has announced the formation of a new state and federal coalition to prosecute those who illegally supply opiates.

Mass. Men Hit Particularly Hard By Opioid Crisis, New Data Show

January 20, 2016
Confirmed opioid deaths in Massachusetts, from January through September 2015, by gender (Massachusetts Department of Public Health)

Over the first nine months of 2015, three-quarters of the confirmed overdose deaths in the state were men.

Health Insurers Step In To Help Stem Opioid Crisis In Mass.

January 19, 2016
For some health insurers, there are critical costs to helping members struggling with drug addiction succeed at staying healthy and off drugs. As a result, these insurers are trying new ways to offer support to those at risk. (Toby Talbot/AP)

Several health insurance companies are taking new steps to deal with the nation’s growing opioid epidemic — like making sure its members stay on track during recovery.

Legal Group Offers Helpline For Addicts’ Inpatient Treatment

January 17, 2016

The Massachusetts Bar Association has started a free legal assistance program to help Norfolk County residents who are seeking court-ordered treatment for a family member or friend struggling with addiction.

Mass. House Approves Bill Aimed At Combating Opioid Overdoses

January 14, 2016

The House bill has significant differences from a bill filed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. It rejects a proposal in Baker’s bill that would have allowed doctors to involuntarily commit those suffering from overdoses to drug treatment facilities for up to three days.

Docs Group Encouraged By Redraft Of Opioid Bill

December 29, 2015

“The legislation strikes a fine balance between the critical need to reduce opioid overdoses with the imperative to effectively and responsibly treat pain,” the Massachusetts Medical Society said in a statement.

Massachusetts House Releases New Version Of Opioid Abuse Bill

December 28, 2015

The bill doesn’t go as far as one proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker. Among other steps, it would limit initial opiate painkiller prescriptions to a seven-day supply.

In 2015, The Opioid Crisis Continued To Ravage Massachusetts

December 28, 2015

Massachusetts’ opioid crisis continued to be a major story of 2015. WBUR’s Martha Bebinger joined Deborah Becker on Morning Edition to discuss the issue.

Gov. Baker Hosts Screening Of HBO Film Set On Cape Cod About Nation’s Opioid Crisis

December 16, 2015
(Courtesy of HBO)

As he campaigns for new measures to deal with the state’s opioid epidemic, Gov. Charlie Baker invited lawmakers and others to an early screening of “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA.”

Opinion: Spurred By Crisis, Long-Awaited Fix To Mass. Opioid Database

December 09, 2015
(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Against the backdrop of the opioid addiction crisis, Massachusetts officials are promising a fix to a longstanding problem: The state’s 5,500 medical residents to not have direct access to the database that lets them check a patient’s opioid history.

Drop-In Center Offers Hope, And Resources, To Families Struggling With Addiction

December 03, 2015
Susan Silva sets up a East Bridgewater H.O.P.E. sign at the Community Covenant Church where the non-profit hosts Substance Abuse Outreach and Intervention Center nights. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Organizers say the Substance Abuse Outreach and Intervention Center in East Bridgewater, which serves as a single stop for people struggling with addiction, is the first of its kind in the region.

‘I Feel Like There Is A Light’: Lynn Nonprofit Offers Substance Treatment For Women

December 01, 2015
Michelle Aguilar, left, and Allison Lees prepare lunch for the other residents at the Project COPE Women’s Residential Program, an inpatient substance use treatment program for women. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

With heroin use increasing dramatically among women, we visit a treatment program specifically for women.

How Rutland, Vt., Is Taking On Drug Trafficking With ‘Project Vision’

November 24, 2015
A mural covers the wall of a store in Rutland, Vt., commemorating the life of 17-year-old Carly Ferro, who was hit by a car and killed. Police said the driver was huffing from an aerosol can to intoxicate himself moments before the crash. Local officials said Ferro's 2012 death was the city's low point in its fight against heroin. (Wilson Ring/AP)

Rutland had developed a reputation as “heroin city,” but now, drug-related crimes are down, hundreds of people are going into treatment and drug dens are being demolished.

Mass. Begins Certifying Sober Homes

November 19, 2015
Rich Winant owns Kelly House, a sober home in Wakefield. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

After years of complaints and lawsuits alleging that some sober homes are unsafe and anything but sober, the state is taking steps to more closely monitor them.

At Revere Summit, Officials Say Collective Approach Needed To Fight Opioid Crisis

October 27, 2015
Debbie Deagle, who lost her 32-year-old son Stephen to an overdose earlier this year, spoke at Monday's opioid addiction and recovery summit hosted by Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo. (Deborah Becker/WBUR)

The emotional summit was attended by several elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Dozens spoke about the drug crisis that has claimed hundreds of lives throughout the state.

Journalist Explains Origins Of Price And Prevalence Of Heroin Amid Opioid Crisis

October 13, 2015

Journalist Sam Quinones discusses how much of the heroin found across America can be traced back to a small area of Mexico.

In Visit To Boston, Clinton Pushes For Stronger Federal Regulation Of Opioids

October 02, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, center, is joined by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at the Boston Community Forum on Substance Abuse on Thursday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Hillary Clinton says the federal government must do a better job of regulating opiate painkillers during a forum on substance abuse in Boston Thursday.

Hillary Clinton To Host Boston Forum On Substance Abuse

October 01, 2015

The presidential hopeful will be joined Thursday by fellow Democrats, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Mass. Senate To Debate Opioid Abuse Prevention Bill

October 01, 2015

The bill focuses on prevention and education — including implementing screenings of students for signs of addiction and encouraging doctors to find alternatives to pain management.

MGH Settles Drug Theft Case For $2.3 Million

September 29, 2015

The hospital has agreed to pay the United States $2.3 million to resolve allegations that lax controls enabled MGH employees to divert controlled substances such as oxycodone for personal use.

Gloucester Police Ask Residents To Contact Drug Companies About Opioid Crisis

September 18, 2015
Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello is taking a novel approach to the war on drugs, making the police station a first stop for addicts on the road to recovery. (Elise Amendola/AP)

“I think the consumer has the right to contact them” and ask about how they’re working to combat opioid addiction, Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said.

U.S. Reps. Clark, Kennedy Push Bills To Battle Opioid Abuse

September 09, 2015

Two members of the state’s congressional delegation have pushed legislation through the U.S. House aimed at addressing opioid abuse in Massachusetts and the nation.

Healey Strikes Deal To Offset Cost Of Narcan For Mass. Towns

August 31, 2015
Naloxone nasal spray (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The pharmaceutical company that makes the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone will pay more than $300,000 into a new state trust fund to help make the medication more affordable.

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