DRUGS

One day after announcing that fewer Massachusetts residents have died from opioid overdoses this year than last, Gov. Charlie Baker delivered a slate of proposals to combat the epidemic, including reforms for prescribing and treatment, at a press conference Tuesday.

Marijuana plants.
Brett Levin flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22 / Creative Commons

Marijuana regulators in Massachusetts are trying to find a balance between getting pot stores open by next summer, and making sure all residents have a chance to get involved in the industry.

Prosecutors have filed new charges against members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State, alleging that newly recovered video shows them serving pledge Timothy Piazza excessive quantities of alcohol. The charges filed Monday — which range from involuntary manslaughter to aggravated assault and hazing — rely on surveillance footage taken during the pledge event connected with the 19-year-old's death.

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday, freeing up resources to deal with the epidemic.

Last year, more than 64,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. Many of those overdoses were from heroin, prescription painkillers, fentanyl and other opioids.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

President Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are currently dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history," Trump said, adding, "it's just been so long in the making. Addressing it will require all of our effort."

"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," he said.

Rat-a-tat-tat came the verdicts.

Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. The jury had made its decision, bringing forth convictions for mail fraud, racketeering, for putting adulterated and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud and mislead.

The verdicts came in a relentless chain of humiliation for Glenn Chin, the former supervisory pharmacist at the New England Compounding Center.

And yet his attorneys were quietly overjoyed. They had beaten the murder charges.

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., has withdrawn his name from consideration as America's drug czar, President Trump said Tuesday. Marino is stepping back days after reports that legislation he sponsored hindered the Drug Enforcement Administration in its fight against the U.S. opioid crisis.

On April 17, Katie Herzog checked into a Boston teaching hospital for what turned out to be a nine-hour-long back surgery.

The 68-year-old consulting firm president left the hospital with a prescription for Dilaudid, an opioid used to treat severe pain, and instructions to take two pills every four hours, as needed. Herzog took close to the full dose for about two weeks.

Then, worried about addiction, she began asking questions.

Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court are reviewing some complex questions about how courts deal with addiction.

Arguments heard by the SJC on Monday involve whether courts can require someone with a substance use disorder to remain drug-free.

The justices asked tough questions of both sides, starting with attorney Lisa Newman-Polk. Her client, Julie Eldred, was sent to jail for failing a drug test while on probation for a larceny charge.

Varieties of marijuana.
File photo / The Republican

Before retail sales of marijuana begin in Massachusetts, researchers are studying the drug's current effect on public safety.

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