More than 600 people were at the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh Tuesday evening for a community forum on the prescription opioid and heroin addiction crisis.  The evening featured a guest expert on how the drugs affect the brain.

  "Whoever said you can't get sober for someone else never met my mother, Mama Jean. When I came to in a Manhattan emergency room after an overdose to the news that she was on her way from Texas, I panicked. She was the last person I wanted to see on that dark September morning, but the person I needed the most."

So begins this astonishing memoir ― by turns both darkly comic and deeply poignant ― about this native Texan's long struggle with alcohol, his complicated relationship with Mama Jean, and his sexuality. The book is listed as “Required Reading” in Mary Karr’s bestselling The Art of Memoir and was a Book Chase Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2015.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday $10.5 million over five years will go to support six new Recovery Community and Outreach Centers.

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New York lawmakers are considering legislation that would limit the amount of prescription opioid drugs patients can get after an initial visit to the doctor's office, part of an effort to curb a statewide addiction crisis.

Moby's Memoir

May 25, 2016

  There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene. This was the New York of unchecked, drug-fueled hedonism in pumping clubs where dance music was still largely underground, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos.

And then there was Moby—not just a poor, skinny white kid from Connecticut, but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler. He would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld. Not without drama, he found his way.

But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched excess and proved all too fleeting. And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life, and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multimillion-selling Play.

Moby's new memoir is entitled, Porcelain.

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Connecticut officials are planning to expand methadone treatment to prisoners across the state over the next year or so, in what authorities believe would be the first statewide prison program in the country to use the drug to help inmates avoid withdrawal symptoms and overdoses.

  Augusten Burroughs is the author of the autobiographical works Running with Scissors, Dry, Magical Thinking, Possible Side Effects and A Wolf at the Table, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. Running with Scissors remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two consecutive years and was made into a Golden Globe-nominated film starring Annette Bening.

His only novel, Sellevision, is currently in development as a series for NBC. Dry, Augusten's memoir of his alcoholism and recovery, is being developed by Showtime. In addition, Burroughs is currently creating an original prime-time series for CBS. Augusten's latest book is called Lust & Wonder.

In it, he chronicles the development and demise of the different relationships he's had while living in New York, he examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out. He will be speaking about and signing the book in our region next Wednesday – April 13th at 7 p.m. at the Northshire Book Store in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Listener Essay: Dianne Olsen

Mar 17, 2016

Our grandson, Liam, died last year of a drug overdose. He was 26. Everything we thought we knew has changed.  

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand brought her campaign to fight the scourge of opioid addiction and death to the City of Newburgh on Friday where she announced new legislation that will target the epidemic at one of its key sources: opioid pain medication prescriptions.

  Irvine Welsh returns to Edinburgh, the home of Trainspotting and so many of his novels since, with a new novel – A Decent Ride -  featuring one of his most iconic and beloved characters—'Juice' Terry Lawson—that's thick on the Scottish brogue, heavy on the filth and masterful in its comedic timing.

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Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has persuaded his fellow governors to push for new protocols in their states for physicians prescribing painkiller drugs. Shumlin says too many doctors have handed them out like candy in recent years.

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Clinton County will soon have an addiction treatment center. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement Friday that will bring a detox center to a region that has been lacking such a facility.

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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.

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Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was among those who testified Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the need for federal action to curb opiate and heroin addiction.

Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to sign legislation that would give women with alcohol or substance abuse problems access to addiction treatment services rather than housing them in the state prison for women in Framingham.

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Burlington, Vermont city councilors heard a report Monday from health and law enforcement officials about the level and impact of the opiate addiction crisis on the city. The city is the latest in our region to grapple with what officials have called an epidemic.


New York state has released new materials intended for parents, community groups, teachers, and others to help initiate conversation with those struggling with addiction.

Photo of Governor Peter Shumlin with agency representatives as he announces child protection funding package
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin today announced an $8.4 million proposed funding package for the 2016-2017 budget years to add staff to the Department of Children and Families and agencies involved in child protection.

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Considered a scourge across the Northeast that doesn’t discriminate, heroin has wrecked many lives and become a public health crisis. Last night, a panel of experts and advocates discussed heroin and opioid addiction as part of a forum that will air later this week on Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh.

Joining us today on Vox Pop - Dr. Jennifer Michaels of The Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Berkshire Medical Center is here to discuss mental health and substance abuse issues for the latest edition of Medical Monday. WAMC's Alan Chartock hosts.

  On May 5, 2006, the New York Times ran two stories, “Patrick Kennedy Crashes Car into Capitol Barrier” and then, several hours later, “Patrick Kennedy Says He'll Seek Help for Addiction.” It was the first time that the popular Rhode Island congressman had publicly disclosed his addiction to prescription painkillers, the true extent of his struggle with bipolar disorder and his plan to immediately seek treatment. That could have been the end of his career, but instead it was the beginning. 

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Schenectady County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino and members of the county legislature announced the creation of a county-wide drug unit this morning to address the growing heroin epidemic.

  Joe Albany was a critically acclaimed but little known jazz pianist - one of the few white musicians to play bebop with Charlie Parker. His story is told in the film, Low Down - based on a memoir by Amy-Jo Albany, his daughter.

The film tells the story of a man torn between his musical ambition, his devotion to his teenage daughter, and his suffocating heroin addiction.

On Monday, September 28th at 7pm Amherst Cinema will present a screening of the film as part of their Jazz a la Mode film series.

Facebook: Northern Berkshire Community Coalition

Members of the Northern Berkshire community are coming together Saturday to bring attention to addiction and remember those who lost their lives struggling with it.

The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition is hosting the third annual Voices for Recovery rally, walk and vigil at Noel Field in North Adams. Wendy Penner is the coalition’s director of prevention programs.

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  The fight against heroin has led to a spike in headline-grabbing overdose deaths and police activity. But it also means there are more recovering addicts in need of long-term support. Now, a community group in Warren and Washington Counties is hoping to make a difference. 

  The Center for Motivation & Change is a unique, private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers in New York City specializing in the treatment of substance use and compulsive behaviors.

The most innovative leaders in progressive addiction treatment in the US offer a groundbreaking, science-based guide to helping loved ones overcome addiction problems and compulsive behaviors. Beyond Addiction eschews the theatrics of interventions and tough love to show family and friends how they can use kindness, positive reinforcement, and motivational and behavioral strategies to help their loved ones change.

Dr. Carrie Wilkens joins us to tell us more.

Joining us today on Vox Pop - Dr. Jennifer Michaels of The Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Berkshire Medical Center is here to discuss mental health and substance abuse issues for the latest edition of Medical Monday. WAMC's Alan Chartock hosts.

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A vigil for victims of addiction is being held tonight in North Adams, Massachusetts amid growing concerns of an opioid epidemic across the country.

    In Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior, renowned psychotherapist Richard O’Connor, PhD, reveals exactly why our bad habits die so hard. We have two brains—one a thoughtful, conscious, deliberative self, and the other an automatic self that makes most of our decisions without our attention. Using new research and knowledge about how the brain works, the book clears a path to lasting, effective change for bad behaviors.

Listener Essay - Red, Brown, And Navy Blue

Aug 14, 2014

  Kathy Curto is an Adjunct Professor of Writing at Montclair State University and her work has been published in The Inquisitive Eater, The Asbury Park Press, Italian Americana, VIA-Voices in Italian Americana, Lumina, The Mom Egg, Splash of Red and several newspapers covering the Hudson Valley. She holds a BA and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work. In 2012 she was selected as one of the cast members of the first NYC Listen to Your Mother show, a national series of original live readings. Kathy lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and their four children. This essay is also featured on Junk.