Stories

New Hampshire sues chain pharmacies for their role in fueling opioid addiction crisis

July 26, 2022

The state of New Hampshire is suing the nation’s largest pharmacy chains — including CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens — alleging the companies failed to stop “a flood of prescription opioids” that fueled the addiction epidemic of the past decade. The suit, filed in Merrimack County Superior Court Tuesday, says the pharmacies failed to create…

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He built New Hampshire’s largest addiction treatment network. Now, he faces accusations of sexual misconduct.

March 22, 2022

An NHPR investigation has discovered multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, abusive leadership, and retaliation by Eric Spofford while he was CEO of Granite Recovery Centers (GRC). GRC is the largest provider of substance use disorder treatment in New Hampshire and serves thousands of people across New England each year, at a time when the need…

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A photograph of Patti Parent with her daughter Katie three days before her death in 2015.

Fewer women are seeking addiction treatment in Mass. as use and overdoses increase

January 27, 2022

Despite the latest statistics showing an increase in opioid use and overdoses among women in Massachusetts, the number of women seeking addiction treatment has dropped dramatically. While the pandemic presented challenges to accessing treatment because of staffing and concerns about congregate settings, state officials are looking at other factors that may be behind the drop. Meanwhile, there are signs that…

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Among the items found in Robert King’s trailer was a note written years earlier by Samuel Marino. The misspellings in the note signaled to his mother that he was among the young men trafficked by King and co-conspirators.

‘An easy target’: Sex traffickers prey on drug-addicted young men

December 13, 2021

Bruce Bemer made no secret of what his money could buy. The wealthy Connecticut businessman admitted to police and the FBI that he purchased sex from drug-addicted young men. But Bemer strenuously denied a far more serious charge: knowingly participating in a human trafficking operation. Three months ago, the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with the…

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Clients, Staff Say Major New Hampshire Addiction Treatment Center Mishandled COVID Outbreak

December 14, 2020

The minute Peter Rosasco walked into Green Mountain Treatment Center in Effingham, he knew there would be problems. “It was just a ticking time bomb, that place,” Rosasco said. It was mid-November, and his mother, Susan Axelrod, was bringing Rosasco to residential treatment as part of a plea deal he reached over recent drug charges.…

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Police In Western Massachusetts Keep Knocking On Drug Users’ Doors Until They’re Ready For Help

February 24, 2020

Emily Ligawiec, 29, has to sign visitors in to her recovery program in a grand Victorian house run by the Gandara Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts. She’s been living there since getting out of a detox program last fall. She had to give up her phone for two weeks and only recently got car privileges. “We…

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Where New Hampshire Democrats And The 2020 Candidates Stand On Drug Crisis Policies

January 24, 2020

New Hampshire is among the states hardest hit by the drug overdose crisis. So perhaps it’s no surprise that a majority of voters who plan to vote in the Democratic presidential primary support even the most controversial measures to keep people who use drugs alive and guide them to treatment rather than jail. Take decriminalization.…

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‘It’s Totally A Disaster’: Ban On Vaping Products Frustrates Massachusetts Businesses

September 25, 2019

Pete Patel was excited about his new business venture as the owner of Liquid Smoke & Vape Shop in Allston. But just a few months in, that excitement has now turned to disappointment. “It’s totally a disaster for us. For the whole industry,” Patel said. “Now we have to close down.” On Tuesday, Gov. Charlie…

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Sarah Mackin exits the Care Zone van after it parks on Haverhill St. near by North Station. They will mobilize and walk around the area to look for opioid users who need assistance. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

The Van Vs. An Opioid Addiction: Taking Treatment To The Streets

June 12, 2019

On the streets of Boston, the potholed path to treatment often starts with a sandwich. Egg salad is the favorite. Today it’s ham. Phil Ribeiro tucks one into the bag of a man who is breathing, but either so sedated or deeply asleep that he’s difficult to rouse.

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Mark Jenkins with Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition shows a chart of recovered baggies of street drugs branded with names and logos. Photo by Cassandra Basler for WSHU

Connecticut EMTs Gather Most Detailed Overdose Data Yet

June 6, 2019

Paramedic Peter Canning walks through Hartford’s Pope Park. He picks up empty heroin baggies as he passes by athletic fields, a public pool and a picnic pavilion where a few people appear to nod off.

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