Heroin And Opioid Addiction

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Residents of New York who require prescription medication will no longer need to carry a paper scrip to the pharmacy.  New York’s groundbreaking electronic prescription law known as “I-Stop” is now in effect.

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A proposal to set aside $30 million to fight the heroin epidemic in New York state has been announced by the Assembly.

Both of Connecticut’s U.S. Senators spoke on the Senate floor this week urging support for legislation they say can help the nation combat the rise of opioid and heroin abuse.

This is a picture of Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
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Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on his colleagues to pass legislation intended to help combat the rise of heroin and opioid use.

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With the battle against heroin addiction ramping up nationwide, Governor Andrew Cuomo last week proclaimed that independent pharmacies across New York may provide the antidote without a prescription.  

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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.

Joining us this afternoon to give us some perspective on the opioid crisis is Dr. Jennifer Michaels of the Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in Pittsfield.

Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

Governor Charlie Baker joined other Massachusetts leaders today to announce the findings and recommendations of an opioid task force created by the governor earlier this year.

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U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is urging the Drug Enforcement Agency to keep a program he says reduces crime and saves lives.  

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Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal recently proposed legislation aimed at preventing prescription drug and heroin overdoses.

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More than 200 people came to Greenfield Community College last night to address the opioid crisis  task force appointed by the governor of Massachusetts.  The panel was told heroin use and pain pill abuse is rampant in the state’s rural towns.  

The panel heard emotional pleas for help and thoughtful suggestions on actions the state should take to combat drug addiction and curb overdose deaths, which state officials said jumped 46 percent last year.

Tracy Lord of Turners Falls said drugs have devastated her family.

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Like the administration before him, Governor Charlie Baker is calling opioid abuse in Massachusetts a public health emergency. The Republican has unveiled initial steps his administration plans to take in fighting heroin and prescription drug abuse and addiction.

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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.

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The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition honored its members’ work at its annual meeting Tuesday in Williamstown, Massachusetts. But, talk also focused around an issue gaining regional and national attention.

National drug control policy officials plan to meet with New York State Police and local governments to help create the first-ever heroin tracking database.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says the database will be used to further combat the heroin crisis and other drug-related crimes in New York, by helping law enforcement identify patterns, crack down on heroin rings across county lines, target resources to high crime areas, determine which drugs are more sought after, and pinpoint necessary security changes in drug distribution networks.

The state capitol in Albany.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

State lawmakers are hosting a roundtable discussion to examine the rise in heroin and opioid abuse in New York.

Members of the state Assembly are set to hold the event Monday at the legislative office building in Albany.

Representatives from mental health organizations, public health agencies and law enforcement are scheduled to attend, along with drug policy experts.

The Senate is holding a series of similar forums around the state to study the epidemic of opiate abuse and recommend ways to combat it.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman visited Guilderland Police Department headquarters today to announce the first round of awards for the Community Overdose Prevention (COP) Program, which will provide 39 law-enforcement agencies across the state with funds to equip their officers with naloxone and train them to use the life-saving heroin antidote.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

The New York State Senate created a Task Force on Heroin on Opioid Addiction in mid-March. Members have been holding forums across the state.