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Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of the acclaimed, best-selling "Half the Sky" now issue a plea, deeply personal and told through the lives of real Americans, to address the crisis in working-class America, while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure.

Their new book is "Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope."

The opioid crisis is nightly news in America, responsible for over 47,000 deaths every year – nearly two-thirds of all drug related deaths in this country. The question on everyone’s mind is: why? Why do so many people turn to drugs? When her twelve-year-old son, Atticus, asked her this question, essayist and Ravishly columnist, Erin Khar, needed to look inward before answering.

The result was "Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me," a raw and often shocking meditation on Khar’s fifteen-year opioid addiction and her long, difficult road to recovery.

Khar will be part of the Volume Reading series at Spotty Dog Books and Ale in Hudson, New York with Douglas Stuart, Valerie Hsiung and Briallen Hopper on Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Speaking at The Addictions Care Center of Albany
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in Albany Monday to promote new legislation intended to help families struggling with addiction.

Kaushik Narasimhan/Flickr

New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be in the Hudson Valley Friday to announce legislation to support families struggling with substance abuse.

"Wholly Unraveled" is Keele Burgin’s memoir of self-discovery and finding her voice.

Burgin was raised in a Catholic cult, under the unforgiving eye of her abusive father. She watched her mother disappear before her eyes. Once on her own in the world, Burgin found herself in a damaging spiral of self-destruction. Then, she spent a year in almost complete silence at a remote community in rural Canada. She is now a successful entrepreneur, activist, author, and filmmaker.

A movie premiering this weekend at the Woodstock Film Festival focuses on topics society grapples with daily: addiction and mental health.

From left: Michael Carpenter, Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, John Bernardi and Garry Douglas discuss NY's Recovery Tax Credit program
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The New York state budget includes a new tax incentive program for businesses that hire people in recovery from substance abuse disorders.  The enabling legislation was introduced by North Country Assemblyman D. Billy Jones. He was at the business that motivated his measure on Wednesday as it submitted paperwork to qualify for the program.

Through meditations on race, culture, and family, "One Day on the Gold Line" tells the story of a lesbian Jewish single mother raising a black son in Los Angeles.

A memoir-in-essays, it examines life’s surprising changes that come through choice or circumstance, often seemingly out of nowhere, and sometimes darkly humorous even as the situations are dire.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy announces funding for a Rural Center of Excellence on Substance Abuse Disorders
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy announced Thursday that the University of Vermont will receive $6.6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a Rural Center of Excellence on Substance Abuse Disorders.

Officials including New York state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez cut the ribbon on the new recovery center in Plattsburgh.
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The grand opening of a new addiction recovery center was celebrated in Plattsburgh Wednesday.

The "living room" at Healing Springs
Lucas Willard / WAMC

A recovery center in Saratoga Springs has doubled in size. The center hopes to provide new programs for people battling addiction and their families. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard took a tour.

Award-winning author Mitchell Jackson takes us inside the drug-ravaged neighborhood and struggling family of his youth, while examining the cultural forces that led him and his family to today.

Jackson candidly explores his tumultuous youth in the other America. His book, "Survival Math," takes its name from the calculations Mitchell and his family made to keep safe—to stay alive—in their community, a small black neighborhood in Portland, Oregon blighted by drugs, violence, poverty, and governmental neglect.

Mitchell explores the Portland of his childhood, tracing the ways in which his family managed their lives in and around drugs, prostitution, gangs, and imprisonment as members of a tiny black population in one of the country’s whitest cities. He discusses sex work and serial killers, gangs and guns, near-death experiences, composite fathers, the concept of “hustle,” and the destructive power of drugs and addiction on family.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announces opioid related overdose deaths down in Chittenden County
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In 2013, Vermont began tracking the number of opioid overdose related fatalities in the state on a county-by-county basis. Officials in Chittenden County, Vermont’s most populous, announced Thursday that there was a significant drop in overdose deaths last year.

A Vermont panel has released a progress report finding the state has made improvements on the ongoing opioid crisis, but there is still a long way to go.

We’re all aware that innovations like smartphones and social media can have a negative impact on our lives, but the thought of quitting these technologies can scare us into believing we’ll be left disconnected and left behind.

According to Georgetown Computer Science Professor Cal Newport, the solution isn’t relying on tips and hacks to use technology less, and it isn’t an outright rejection either -- it’s a clear, simple philosophy for our technology use.

In his new book, "Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World," Newport suggests focusing your online time on a small number of carefully selected activities that strongly support things you value, allowing you to happily miss out on everything else.

Chris McGreal is a reporter for the Guardian and former journalist at the BBC. He was the Guardian's correspondent in Johannesburg, Jerusalem and Washington DC, and now writes from across the United States.

The opioid epidemic has been described as "one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine." But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world's opioid painkillers.

His new book is entitled "American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts." Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it. The starting point for McGreal's deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of "drug dealers in white coats."

A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry's coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers--resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.

What does hope look like? How do we find and hold onto it in the midst of personal turmoil, communal suffering, global chaos and the everyday challenges of being alive in this world?

Best-selling author Anne Lamott looks to answer these questions and more in her new book, "Almost Everything: Notes on Hope."

In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery, Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents, two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

At the end of the month, a new addiction treatment center will open in Clinton County. It will provide both detox and rehabilitation services for Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties and will be the only such facility in Northeastern New York.

syringe
ZaldyImg/Flickr

For over a year, officials in Vermont’s most populous county and the state have been considering the possibility of creating safe injection sites as a means to curb the growing opioid crisis.  This week, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote that such plans are not solutions and the Department of Justice is ready to act against communities that create such facilities.  The move is not deterring efforts in Burlington.

NY Senator Charles Schumer
Pat Bradley/WAMC

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer was in Plattsburgh, New York recently to promote the distribution of funds that will allow local law enforcement officers to obtain technology to detect the presence of fentanyl in the field.

Leslie Jamison is the author of the essay collection "The Empathy Exams," a New York Times bestseller, and the novel "The Gin Closet," a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the Oxford American, among others, and she is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review. She teaches at Columbia University.

Leslie Jamison's new book "The Recovering" turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Jamison excavates the stories we tell about addiction, both her own and others' -- and examines what we want these stories to do and what happens when they fail us.

Governor Phil Scott (left) joins Drug Prevention Policy Director Jolinda LaClair (at podium) and others at Vermont's Opioid Awareness Day
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Donning purple ribbons and small cards with the number 107, dozens of advocates gathered at the Statehouse in Montpelier this week for Vermont’s second annual Opioid Awareness Day.

Vermont Blueprint for Health Hub and Spoke diagram
Vermont Department of Health

Vermont Governor Phil Scott and the state’s Secretary of Human Services were in Washington Tuesday to testify before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.  Their focus was on the state’s “Hub and Spoke” treatment model that is getting more people into treatment for addiction.

Picture of a judge's gavel
WikiMedia Commons

The western Massachusetts city of Greenfield is the first in the state to sue opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Senator Bernie Sanders holds student meeting on opioids and addiction at Burlington High School
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders held a student town meeting at Burlington High School late last week to discuss the addiction and opioid crisis.

Senator Bernie Sanders at Burlington High School student opioid forum
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders held a student town meeting at the Burlington High School Friday afternoon to discuss the opioid crisis.

Ryan Leaf speaking at SUNY Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Ryan Leaf is a former NFL quarterback. At 28 he quit professional football.  By 35 he was in prison for stealing painkillers.  Leaf says his addiction to opiates was based in part on his ego and narcissism.  He now travels the country to talk about addiction and recovery and was in Plattsburgh this week.

SPARCC business roundtable on addiction
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In a major speech this afternoon President Donald Trump will direct his Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency. That will allow changes such as expanded access to medical services in rural areas.  The addiction crisis is affecting all sectors from emergency, health and law enforcement to families and counselors.  Recently the Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery of Clinton County coalition held a roundtable to discuss the impact of the crisis on business.

Vermont has streamlined the process for becoming a substance abuse counselor as the state continues to address the opioid addiction crisis.

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