19 Stories

Not 'Just a Junkie': a Heartbreaking Obit for Young Mom

Madelyn Linsenmeir first tried OxyContin at a high school party

(Newser) - "To some, Maddie was just a junkie," but to the family and friends grieving the 30-year-old's death, Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir was "adored as a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, and mother," according to a moving obituary that has caught the attention of the nation and... More »

Teen Was Driving 107mph When She Killed Sisters: Cops

Alia Sierra has been charged as adult

(Newser) - The opioid epidemic may have claimed two wholly innocent victims. Police say the 17-year-old who killed two sisters after the car she was driving crashed into the girls' Frankfort, Ind., home in July was high on opiates. RTV6 describes a harrowing lead-up to the crash, citing detectives who say Alia... More »

Mother Clings to Dying Daughter After Overdose

'She was my only daughter, my best friend'

(Newser) - Seven years of addiction, five overdoses, several detoxes, and giving up her son to adoptive parents didn't prove to be enough to help 22-year-old Elaina Towery kick her heroin habit, reports the New York Daily News . Towery, of Howell, Mich., was found slumped over in a Burger King bathroom... More »

Cops: Parents Rubbed Painkiller on Newborn's Gums to Mask Addiction

Three of four kids tested positive for meth

(Newser) - A 3-month-old girl who tested positive for meth, heroin, and morphine was allegedly dosed with a painkiller by her parents hours after her April 9 birth to mask the girl's addiction from hospital staff. The Utah County Sheriff reports that Colby Glen Wilde, 29, and Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26,... More »

A Year Later, Big Questions Remain on Prince's Death

'New York Times' takes a look as anniversary nears

(Newser) - April 21 will mark one year since Prince's death at age 57, and the New York Times takes a look at the mysteries that still linger. The biggest one: Where did Prince get the fentanyl that killed him? Fentanyl, an opioid that is cheaper to produce than heroin but... More »

Addict Jailed for Sake of Unborn Baby

Alabama woman admitted to cops she was using heroin

(Newser) - In what police describe as "a sad case, no matter how you look at it," an Alabama judge has ordered a suspected drug addict to remain behind bars until she gives birth to her second child. Authorities say Alexandra Nicole Laird, 21, gave birth to a baby girl... More »

A Shot Could Save This Heroin Addict. Can She Stay Clean to Get It?

Washington Post looks at the addiction epidemic through one woman's eyes

(Newser) - It's not hard to find stories about America's heroin problem, but the Washington Post provides a riveting look through the plight of a 31-year-old Michigan woman named Amanda Wendler. She's been an addict for 11 years and thus things are dire—the average active user is dead... More »

Judge Orders Heroin Dealers to Pay for Antidotes

But they'll serve years in prison first

(Newser) - Fatal drug overdoses have jumped about 40% in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area in recent years, a trend one judge hopes an unusual punishment will help reverse. In two cases this week, Judge Anthony Mariani ordered drug dealers to pay $50 to local EMS for each brick of heroin they... More »

Ex-Addict: I Got Prescription Opioids Way Too Easily

Doctors knew history, kept pills coming

(Newser) - Seth Mnookin is recovering from a three-year addiction to heroin, which he kicked in 1997. So when he went to Massachusetts General Hospital to be treated for kidney stones that left him in severe pain, he made sure to tell every medical professional he encountered about his history with addiction.... More »

Opioid Addicts Getting High on Diarrhea Meds—Fatally

'As dumb and dangerous as it sounds'

(Newser) - In yet another sign that the US is facing a mounting opioid epidemic, people are trying to get high, or at least temper their opiate withdrawals, off an anti-diarrhea drug commonly sold under the brand name Imodium, reports NPR . In the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine , researchers note an uptick... More »

Jamie Lee Curtis: I, Too, Was Addicted to Painkillers

She shares her story in response to Prince's death

(Newser) - It's time to do something about painkiller addiction, writes Jamie Lee Curtis in the Huffington Post , where she reveals that she was once addicted, like Prince reportedly was. "I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to. I too,... More »

Homemade Poppy Tea May Have Killed College Student

Cops: Steven Austin Underhill drank tea from store-bought poppy seeds

(Newser) - Dose matters, and a 21-year-old engineering student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., may have learned that lesson in the most irrevocable of ways. Steven Austin Underhill died Sunday , and police say it's possible a lethal concentration of homemade poppy tea is to blame. While a toxicology report... More »

Mom Eats Bagel, County Takes Baby

She gets $143K payout over poppy-seed mix-up

(Newser) - A Pennsylvania mom has won a $143,500 payout after having her newborn taken away from her for five days in a bagel debacle that will be familiar to Seinfeld fans. The day after Elizabeth Mort took her daughter home, police officers and social workers came to her Lawrence County... More »

New OxyContin Formula Foils Drug Abusers

...Who then just switch to similar narcotics, police say

(Newser) - OxyContin abuse is becoming a thing of the past—sort of. Ever since Purdue Pharma reformulated its hit narcotic pills to make them harder to snort, chew, or inject, addicts have been looking elsewhere for their high, the New York Times reports. “It’s too much work,” says... More »

Pain-Relieving Morphine May Spread Cancer

But drug to counter harmful effect exists

(Newser) - Morphine, a painkiller often prescribed to ease cancer patients' suffering, may in fact encourage the spread of the disease. A new study suggests that the opiate strengthens blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to tumors, as well as makes it easier for cancers to invade new tissues and spread,... More »

Heroin Makes a Comeback

Price falls, availability surges for drug

(Newser) - The last 2 weeks have seen authorities seize huge amounts of heroin across the country—a combined 510 pounds in California, plus 17 more in New York. The drug hasn't been this readily available since the 1970s, reports the Christian Science Monitor, and authorities are worried because today's version is... More »

No Evidence of Demerol Injection: LAPD

(Newser) - Authorities have seen no evidence that Michael Jackson was injected with the painkiller Demerol before his death, a detective tells the Los Angeles Times. The widely reported claims “are coming from outside the investigation,” he said today. Meanwhile, Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, has returned to the city... More »

Cops Can't Find Jackson's Doctor

Physician reportedly gave singer an injection before he died

(Newser) - Michael Jackson's doctor has apparently gone AWOL, TMZ reports. Authorities want to interview him but can't find him, sources say. Cops towed his BMW from Jackson's house last night. One source says the doctor gave Jackson an injection, possibly of the morphine-like drug Demerol, before he died. The LA coroner,... More »

Afghanistan Supplies 93% of World's Opiates

Poppy crop jumps 34% over last year

(Newser) - Afghanistan's opium production has soared over the last year and the country now supplies 93% of the world's opiates. Most of the poppies are grown along the country's southern border with Pakistan, where the insurgency is strong, security is weak, and the Taliban continues to use its drug profits to... More »

19 Stories