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The 2016 viral photo of a couple passed out in a car while a child sits in the back seat triggered a painful moment of self-reflection in East Liverpool, Ohio. The community took steps to address its addiction problem, but progress has been spotty. Ian Brown for NPR hide caption

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Ian Brown for NPR

A highly potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is often mixed into other drugs sold on the street, including pills, heroin and even cocaine. Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images hide caption

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Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images

Keri Blakinger spent nearly two years incarcerated on narcotics charges before becoming a criminal justice reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Nicole Hensley/Houston Chronicle hide caption

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Nicole Hensley/Houston Chronicle

From Convict To Criminal Justice Reporter: 'I Was So Lucky To Come Out Of This'

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Patrick Semansky/AP

Paramedic Larrecsa Cox (center) and her quick-response team, including police Officer Stephanie Coffey (left) and Pastor Virgil Johnson (right), check in at the home in Huntington, W.Va., of someone who was revived a few days before from an overdose. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

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Sarah McCammon/NPR

Knocking On Doors To Get Opioid Overdose Survivors Into Treatment

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Suboxone, a medicine to treat opioid addiction, helps people struggling with substance abuse by blocking their cravings and physical withdrawal symptoms. Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images hide caption

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Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Addiction Treatment Gap Is Driving A Black Market For Suboxone

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A visitor to the Harvard School of Public Health's mock safe injection setup checks out the items on the demonstration table set up underneath a tent on the quad near the medical school in Boston on April 30, 2018. Jessica Rinaldi/Getty Images hide caption

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Jessica Rinaldi/Getty Images

Justice Department Promises Crackdown On Supervised Injection Facilities

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Dispatches From A 'Dopesick' America

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At safe injection sites like Insite, in Vancouver, Canada, drug users can inject drugs under the watch of trained medical staff who will help in case of overdose. Elana Gordon/WHYY hide caption

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Elana Gordon/WHYY

Cities Planning Supervised Drug Injection Sites Fear Justice Department Reaction

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Kelly Zimmerman holds her son Jaxton Wright at a parenting session at the Children's Health Center in Reading, Pa. The free program provides resources and social support to new parents in recovery from addiction, or who are otherwise vulnerable. Natalie Piserchio for NPR hide caption

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Natalie Piserchio for NPR

Beyond Opioids: How A Family Came Together To Stay Together

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Arlington, Mass., Police Chief Fred Ryan (right) and Inspector Gina Bassett review toxicology reports on cocaine evidence looking for the possibility of fentanyl. Jesse Costa/WBUR hide caption

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Jesse Costa/WBUR

Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Becoming A Deadly Problem Among Drug Users

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A young man uses heroin under a bridge in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, a neighborhood that has become a hub for heroin use. The economic costs of the epidemic are mounting, researchers say, as the U.S. loses more and more workers in their prime. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A Mexican soldier piles poppies for incineration near the town of Tlacotepec, in Guerrero state, Mexico. The army says it slashes and burns poppy when fields are too difficult to access by helicopter or when it wants to protect fruits and vegetables growing nearby. James Fredrick for NPR hide caption

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James Fredrick for NPR

On The Hunt For Poppies In Mexico — America's Biggest Heroin Supplier

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Proponents of medically supervised, indoor sites for opioid injection say such places would be much safer than tent encampments like this one — and could help people addicted to opioids transition into treatment and away from drug use. Natalie Piserchio for WHYY hide caption

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Natalie Piserchio for WHYY

Desperate Cities Consider 'Safe Injection' Sites For Opioid Users

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Terry Lilly, then 36, of Charleston, W.Va., almost a year ago when he was first interviewed by NPR's Sarah McCammon. Sarah McCammon/NPR hide caption

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Sarah McCammon/NPR

After Drug Treatment, Men In Recovery Work To Live A 'Normal Life'

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George Patterson is one of the volunteers who run Phoenix's only syringe exchange program, a mobile program called Shot in the Dark. Will Stone / KJZZ hide caption

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Will Stone / KJZZ

Fight The Opioid Epidemic, All Agree. But Strategies Vary Widely

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The shelter at Houston's Convention Center, seen here Aug. 29, isn't equipped to provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid abuse. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/Getty Images

Houston Methadone Clinics Reopen After Harvey's Flooding

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A vaccine against heroin wouldn't be like the measles vaccine that you receive once for a lifetime of immunity, say scientists working on it. Multiple shots per year would likely be required, and it would be specific to just heroin and morphine. kimberrywood/Getty Images hide caption

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A 'Vaccine For Addiction' Is No Simple Fix

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Andrea Towson used heroin for more than three decades. After a near-death experience with fentanyl, she sought help. Shelby Knowles/NPR hide caption

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Shelby Knowles/NPR

'That Fentanyl — That's Death': A Story Of Recovery In Baltimore

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Kim Ryu for NPR

A Drugmaker Tries To Cash In On The Opioid Epidemic, One State Law At A Time

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Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa (left), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are drafting legislation that would call for new penalties for selling synthetic opioids. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Andrew Harnik/AP

Lawmakers Consider Tough New Penalties For Opioid Crimes, Bucking Trend

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A test strip designed to help doctors check a patient's urine for fentanyl is being distributed in the Bronx to encourage users of heroin or other opioids to check what's in their syringe before they inject. Mary Harris/WNYC hide caption

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Mary Harris/WNYC

An Experiment Helps Heroin Users Test Their Street Drugs For Fentanyl

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