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drugs

File photo of cocaine.
Flickr Photo/DBDurietz (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Washington State University neuroscientist Barbara Sorg about her new research into addiction and memory.

Shane Avery practices family medicine in Scott County, Ind. In December, a patient came to his office who was pregnant, and an injection drug user.

After running some routine tests, Avery found out that she was positive for HIV. She was the second case he had seen in just a few weeks.

"Right then, I kind of realized, 'Wow, are we on the tip of something?' " Avery says. "But you just put it away. ... It's statistically an oddity when you're just one little doctor, you know?"

File photo: Discarded alcohol containers.
Flickr Photo/Steve Snodgrass (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/9AhLkB

Marcie Sillman talks with state Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, about his proposal to ban aversion therapies for people under the age of 18.

Naloxone has been touted as an heroin overdose reversal drug.
Flickr Photo/intropin (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Dennis Donovan, director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington, about a bill which would grant wider access to the opiate overdose medication, Naloxone.

A new study finds a disturbing trend in the battle against malaria. There are highly effective drugs called artemisinins — and now resistant malaria is turning up in parts of Myanmar, the reclusive country also known as Burma, where it hadn't been seen before.

A bill headed to the Idaho House would allow friends and family members of opioid drug users to obtain medication to counteract overdoses.

Rural Thurston County, Washington, is the kind of place people move to for a little elbow room. But if you’re a teenager from the suburbs, life can be less than exciting.

Tara Keo is a single mother to Sokinna, 16, and Kayden, 2.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

RadioActive's Sokinna Keo has learned to find forgiveness for her mother's past as a drug user. Here is their story, in Keo's words: 

When my mom was in middle school, she fell into a bad place. She told me she got expelled from school and started hanging out with "the wrong people."

It's a tradition as old as New Year's: making resolutions. We will not smoke, or sojourn with the bucket of mint chocolate chip. In fact, we will resist sweets generally, including the bowl of M&M's that our co-worker has helpfully positioned on the aisle corner of his desk. There will be exercise, and the learning of a new language.

It is resolved.

So what does science know about translating our resolve into actual changes in behavior? The answer to this question brings us — strangely enough — to a story about heroin use in Vietnam.

Naloxone has been touted as an heroin overdose reversal drug.
Flickr Photo/intropin (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Caleb Banta-Green, senior researcher at University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, about naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.

File photo of homeless person in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/~C4Chaos (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Once upon a time, Jeremy Bradford saw his life spread before him; years of infinite possibility.

The Seattle native had his life together. A successful stint in the Marines had led him to a sales career. Bradford was on an upward trajectory at one of the city's best-known department stores. 

The new Recovery School is moving into the former Queen Anne High School gymnasium building.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

When teenagers with substance abuse problems get out of rehab and return to school, studies show that it’s likely that their peers will offer them drugs within the very first hour. That makes staying clean — or staying in school — difficult. Teens with drug and alcohol problems have a sky-high drop-out rate.

Public health officials say what young people need after rehab is a fresh start at a school focused on their needs and peers with the same goal to stay sober.

Carol Glenn, a former Seattle nurse, collected leftover HIV/AIDS drugs to send overseas. It wasn't legal, but Glenn believed it was her duty.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Carol Glenn, a former nurse, remembers when AIDS ravaged Seattle.

“We began to have people literally walking into the clinic and dropping dead,” said Glenn, who worked at Pike Market Clinic at the time. “Or people with these really strange growths on their face or horrible pneumonias, and nobody knew what they were.”

Back then, HIV was a death sentence. AZT, the first drug approved to treat the disease, came on the market in 1987; it would be years before HIV/AIDS treatments truly started saving lives.

“People were dying left and right at that point and their friends or family would come with a box of stuff and say, ‘I don’t want to throw this away; what’ll I do with it?’” Glenn said.

Century Link Field, Seattle.
Flickr Photo/John Seb Barber (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Dave Zirin, sports writer for The Nation, about how the recent federal raids to inspect illegal drug use are just one of many signs that the relationship between the federal government and professional football is changing.

Left to right: Hannah Apple Fig, Trent Johnson, Matt Streib and Jessica Bernard at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on Pine Street. Matt found the defectors: all three are or were baristas at Starbucks, and while Matt is on coffee number four, Jessica imbibes at
KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

From the producer who brought you fresh, raw Nigerian dwarf goat milk comes this manic coffee crawl. 

Flickr Photo/Chesapeake Bay Program (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Fred Hutchinson cancer researcher Dr. Jim Olson about the development of a new human drug-testing model.

Ross Reynolds talks with Dennis Donovan, director of University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, about why it's so hard to determine what recovery strategies work best for overcoming addiction.

Federal dollars meant to restore toxic areas like old factories, mines and gas stations are now going to clean up after another long-time industry: methamphetamine.

In the western Mexican state of Michoacan, civilian militias have challenged a powerful drug cartel known as the Knights Templar. The vigilante uprising, which spurred the Mexican government to send soldiers and police to help counter the cartel, was fueled by migrants who returned to Mexico after years living north of the border.

Reny Pineda, who was raised in Los Angeles, is one of those migrants. When he returned to his homeland in Mexico, he found a new life fighting drug lords.

Underneath the charm of Martha's Vineyard's picturesque beaches, peaceful woods and luxury homes is a problem: Since August, there have been six overdose deaths on the island.

"That's a phenomenal rate for a community of 16,000 people — and that's not to mention the overdoses that haven't been fatal," says Charles Silberstein, an addiction specialist and psychiatrist at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. "We've had overdoses for years, but I don't think we've ever seen this kind of number or frequency."

Marcie Sillman talks to biotech journalist Luke Timmerman about the pharmaceutical company Merck buying the biotech company Idenix for  over $3 billion and what that means for the future of a hepatitis C treatment. Also, they discuss the latest from the American Society Of Clinical Oncology meeting.

Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young — their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

Scientists have known for a long time that the water coming out of your faucet at home might contain traces of drugs prescribed to people you've never met.

Research shows no one is getting a full dose of say, Prozac, from drinking tap water. But scientists do wonder whether pharmaceuticals in water supplies may be having more subtle, long-term impacts on human health and aquatic life.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Katie Colaneri of WHYY reports.

As Heroin Booms, Recovery Clinics Struggle To Keep Up

May 2, 2014
Jamie Heidenreich rides back to Hoquiam after getting methadone treatment in Olympia, Wash. It's an hour each way.
KUOW Photo/Elizabeth Jenkins

Heroin, the drug of the 90s, is back and thriving in Washington state.

“A hot batch of heroin hits the streets, and we will know it in a couple of hours because of the overdoses,” Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said. In Washington, opiate-related deaths have doubled in the past decade.

But efforts to provide recovery services have struggled to keep up with the drugs. And for many, particularly in rural areas where distances stretch for hours, it can be tough to reach clinics.

Murray Carpenter's book, "Caffeinated."

Ross Reynolds speaks with journalist Murray Carpenter about his book, “Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us."

The book takes a closer look at the common drug we take for granted on a daily basis.

Herat is one of the most graceful cities in Afghanistan. Its traditions go back to the Persian empire, with its exquisite blue and green glass, and its thriving poetry scene.

Now Herat is struggling with a darker side: drug addiction at a higher rate than almost anywhere else in the country.

In a dusty ravine on the outskirts of the city, Ahmad, a scruffy 20-year-old, is striking a match to inhale heroin.

It's a simple act he repeats throughout his day — heating a dark slab of heroin paste smeared on a bit of foil so he can smoke it.

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to decide whether to approve a powerful new prescription painkiller that's designed to relieve severe pain quickly, and with fewer side effects than other opioids.

While some pain experts say the medicine could provide a valuable alternative for some patients in intense pain, the drug (called Moxduo) is also prompting concern that it could exacerbate the epidemic of abuse of prescription painkillers and overdoses.

Young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week showed changes in the size and shape of two key brain regions, according to a new study of 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25.

This is the first time recreational marijuana use has been connected to significant brain changes.

The findings, a collaboration between Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Since its founding in the 1930s, Alcoholics Anonymous has become part of the fabric of American society. AA and the many 12-step groups it inspired have become the country's go-to solution for addiction in all of its forms. These recovery programs are mandated by drug courts, prescribed by doctors and widely praised by reformed addicts.

Flickr Photo/Kaushik Narasimhan (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with Linda Grant, CEO of Evergreen Manor, about potential funding cuts to drug treatment programs for low-income patients in Washington state. Evergreen Manor is a non-profit drug and alcohol treatment center in Everett.

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