DRUGS

Opioids
Hailey R. Staker / U.S. Air Force

Pittsfield, Sturbridge, West Springfield, Palmer, and Charlton are among the cities and towns in central and western Massachusetts that are taking legal action against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

For the first time in seven years, say Massachusetts officials, the death rate from opioid-related overdoses is decreasing.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts fell an estimated 8.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, marking the first year-over-year decline in several years, the Department of Public Health announced Wednesday. 

Purdue Pharma, the Stamford-based maker of Oxycontin, says it will no longer be marketing its bestselling opioid to physicians. 

At first glance, the numbers look optimistic. After three years of increases in family court cases related to addiction such as child abuse and neglect, numbers were down for fiscal year 2017.

More than three months after President Trump declared the nation's opioid crisis a public health emergency, activists and health care providers say they're still waiting for some other action.

The Trump administration quietly renewed the declaration recently. But it has given no signs it's developing a comprehensive strategy to address an epidemic that claims more than 115 lives every day. The president now says that to combat opioids, he's focused on enforcement, not treatment.

Marijuana.
futurefilmworks / Creative Commons

Almost exactly a year after voters in Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana, pot sales faced a reckoning in the town of Longmeadow.

Vermont has become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana through an act of the Legislature.

O'Dea at Wikimedia Commons / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADiscount_Medical_Marijuana_-_2.jpg

Police in Springfield, Massachusetts, say they will enforce state law when it comes to legalized marijuana, unless they receive additional guidance from top state officials. At the same time, police spokesman Ryan Walsh said the department will cooperate with any federal investigations.  

File Photo / The Republican

The U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts has announced his office plans to pursue federal marijuana crimes and trafficking in the state. 

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scrapping Obama-era guidelines that essentially removed marijuana from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities as more states legalized it.

In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, has long viewed pot as a public menace and a source of street crime.

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