Used syringes rest in a pile at a needle exchange clinic in St. Johnsbury, Vt. The CDC says needle exchanges like this one, where users can obtain clean needles, help reduce the rates of death and transmission among those suffering from hepatitis C. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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A public restroom on the platform of the Central Square MBTA station in Cambridge, Mass., which people have used as a place for getting high. Jesse Costa/WBUR hide caption

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Jesse Costa/WBUR

Public Restrooms Become Ground Zero In The Opioid Epidemic

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Dr. James Baker holds a photo of his son, Max, who had been sober for more than a year and was in college when he relapsed after surgery and died of a heroin overdose. Craig LeMoult/WGBH hide caption

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How Do Former Opioid Addicts Safely Get Pain Relief After Surgery?

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Gandelina Damião, 78, lost three children to heroin in the 1990s. She says she wishes methadone clinics and other government-sponsored drug treatment had been available to her children before they died. Lauren Frayer for NPR hide caption

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In Portugal, Drug Use Is Treated As A Medical Issue, Not A Crime

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Lisa, a client at the AAC Needle Exchange and Overdose Prevention Program in Cambridge, Mass. Nearly five years after an opioid overdose she still limps — possibly because of damage the drug cocktail did to her nerves or muscles. Robin Lubbock/WBUR hide caption

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What Doesn't Kill You Can Maim: Unexpected Injuries From Opioids

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A doctor at a Boston Medical Center clinic counsels a patient who has become addicted to opioid painkillers, and wants help kicking the habit. Addiction specialists say drugs like suboxone, which mitigates withdrawal symptoms, can greatly improve his odds of success. Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe via Getty Images hide caption

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Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe via Getty Images

(Left) Bob Hardin's son has fought alcoholism for decades. (Right) Cary Dixon's adult son has been in and out of treatment for opioid addiction. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

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West Virginia Families Worry About Access To Addiction Treatment Under Trump

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Melissa Morris outside her home in Sterling, Colo. She quit using heroin in 2012, and now relies on the drug Suboxone to stay clean. She's also been helping to find treatment for some of the neighbors she used to sell drugs to. Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media hide caption

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Rural Colorado's Opioid Connections Might Hold Clues To Better Treatment

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The State Crime Lab at the Ohio Attorney General's headquarters of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation displayed a variety of different types of heroin. The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Remembering A Few Of The People Behind Overdose Numbers In Ohio

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A death certificate needs to say more than something vague like "opioid intoxication" to help law enforcement and public health officials curb the distribution of opioids, epidemiologists say. How many drugs did the person take, and which ones? Such details can help families heal, too. Alan Crawford/Getty Images hide caption

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Details On Death Certificates Offer Layers Of Clues To Opioid Epidemic

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Amanda Hensley with her daughter, Valencia. Hensley says several hospitals and clinics she contacted were reluctant to help her quit her opioid habit. "Nobody wants to touch a pregnant woman with an addiction issue." Sarah Jane Tribble/WCPN hide caption

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Pregnant And Addicted: The Tough Road To Family Health

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Nikko Adam, 22, gets a hug from his mother, Patti Trabosh, after his family picked him up from his sober living facility for a weekend outing. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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A Family Engulfed By Heroin Fights To Keep A Son Alive

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Paramedic Phil Salamone carries naloxone, a drug used to reverse an opioid overdose. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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A Small Town Wonders What To Do When Heroin Is 'Everywhere'

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An Addict, Now Clean, Discusses Needle Exchanges And 'Hope After Heroin'

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Dr. Jessie Gaeta, chief medical officer of Health Care for the Homeless at Boston Medical Center, stands in a conference room that will soon be converted to a place where patients high on heroin or other drugs can be safely monitored. Jesse Costa/WBUR hide caption

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Boston's Heroin Users Will Soon Get A Safer Place To Be High

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Shortage Of Addiction Counselors Further Strained By Opioid Epidemic

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A long vacant and blighted property was torn down in northwest Rutland this past year. The Rotary Club and other volunteers plan to erect a playground on the property as part of an effort to reclaim a neighborhood hard hit by drugs and crime. Nina Keck/VPR hide caption

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Tragedy Moves A Community To Combat Drug Addiction

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A pharmacist counts pain pills. In an effort to curb the abuse of Oxycontin, Vicodin and other opioid painkillers, some health plans in Massachusetts now limit a patient's initial prescription to a 15-day supply, and plan to halve that number in February. Gabe Souza/Getty Images hide caption

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Insurers Hire Social Workers To Tackle The Opioid Epidemic

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Anatomy Of Addiction: How Heroin And Opioids Hijack The Brain

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