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Caring For Babies In Withdrawal, Removing Breast Two, Abortion Battles And More: Weekly Roundup

A TV commercial showing IV drug use plays in a room where Opana was injected.
Seth Herald
NPR News
A TV commercial showing IV drug use plays in a room where Opana was injected.

This week: We're used to hearing addiction stories from people in recovery, but if you haven't been there yourself, it's hard to know what it's like to have your life controlled by a drug. In a new podcast, NPR's Kelly McEvers tells a somber story from the center of the Southern Indiana opoiod epidemic. We've also got hopeful news for addicted new moms and their babies. Abortion laws passed this week paint a picture of a sharply divided nation. And doctors are trying to better inform patients on what to do with a healthy breast or a sick relative. 

Anything we missed? Let us know at, Facebook or Twitter.  

To Help Newborns Dependent On Opioids, Hospitals Rethink Mom's Role

"It was a lot about taking babies away from moms," says a long-time NICU nurse about the old way of doing things. But now,  a Connecticut hospital is trying to integrate mothers into their infants' treatment. WNPR has that story. Also this week, Rhode Island Public Radio reports on new research aimed at easing addicted newborns' symptoms. 

Political Gridlock Leaves Missouri Without A Basic Tool For Fighting Drug Abuse

Prescription drug monitoring programs are state initiatives to track individuals' prescriptions for addictive prescription drugs. Doctors and pharmacists use them to prevent people from "doctor shopping" - filling the same prescription and multiple physicians' offices and pharmacies. 49 states, Washington D.C., and even Guam have one. So why not Missouri? Side Effects' Bram Sable-Smith reports


Removing Second Breast Is Often More About Peace of Mind Than Science

The number of women who have cancer in just one breast but choose to have both breasts surgically removed is rising dramatically. But removing the healthy breast has no effect on survival rates in most cases. Some doctors worry their patients are taking unnecessary risks. WBUR's Commonhealth has more


Listen: Austin, Indiana One Year Later

Last year, Side Effects reporter Jake Harper reported the story of Kevin Polly, a IV drug user who contracted HIV as part of the epidemic in rural Austin, Indiana. Polly is now in treatment, but NPR's Kelly McEvers wanted to know what happened to the friends he left behind. In the new podcast "Embedded, " McEvers takes an intimate look at four lives controlled by the prescription drug Opana. McEvers and Harper spoke about the ongoing situation in Scott County on yesterday's episode of On Point with Tom Ashbrook

Utah, FDA Move In Opposite Directions On Abortion 

Legislation signed into law in Utah this week requires doctors to administer anesthesia before preforming an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on the controversial theory that the fetus can feel pain at that stage. NBC News reports. Meanwhile the FDA updated its guidelines for the abortion pill, allowing for it to be used later into pregnancy and requiring fewer trips to the clinic. The Washington Post has that story

A Push For Basic Training For Home Caregivers

Imagine a loved one suffers an accident that left them bed-bound and maybe even unable to speak. You can't afford a home health aide, and you have no experience caring for an adult who can't do anything for himself. WHYY's The Pulse has this story on how some hospitals are working to fill this scary knowledge gap