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This Week In Public Health: Photos From the U.S. Opioid Battle, Gun Violence A Public Health Crisis?

Seth Herald/for NPR
Charlie Oen, a former drug addict, is now a peer counselor, helping others try to stay clean.

This week - A former addict now spends his days helping others instead of chasing the next high. His story in photos. ... Every year in the U.S., 30,000 die from guns. Is it time to label the problem a public health crisis? ... Call in the cuddles to help these babies born physically dependent on drugs. ... These and more ...

Photos: A Former Addict Walks The Front Lines Of America's Opioid Epidemic

It took prison, but Charlie Oen got clean from his years' long addiction to drugs, now he's helping others like him leave their habits behind as a peer recovery coach. "If I didn't have Charlie, I would probably be back on drugs and dead," one woman says. Side Effects' Bram Sable-Smith reports with Seth Herald for NPR on Charlie's winding path, and how he's committing himself to help others.

Treat Gun Violence As A Public Health Crisis, Study Says

Researchers studied gun violence in Chicago over an eight-year period to explain how it can spread like an infectious disease. In the U.S., 30,000 people die from guns each year, and a new study says it's time for gun violence to get more research money we typically reserve to study other causes of death, reports Laura Wagner for NPR.

A New Staffing Crisis Puts Care For People With Disabilities At Risk

In New York state, turnover, low pay and a maze of new minimum wage regulations going into effect are all putting home-based care for people with disabilities at risk. Now, an advocacy group wants new money from N.Y. to help keep caretakers in their jobs, reports Karen Shakerdge.

Quick Hits

Volunteers are stepping in to soothe newborns born physically dependent on drugs. “You literally feel the difference,” one volunteer says.  “You feel them calm down.”

Also, in N.Y., a new law says 16- and 17-year-olds can now donate organs.

Worried about your baby developing a peanut allergy? New guidelines say you can help by introducing children as young as 4 months old to products with peanuts. (But remember, never give your child whole peanuts. It's a choking hazard.)

Feeling sick, kiddo? Here, talk to this doctor on video chat for a few minutes. We'll patch you up, then go back to class.