Tim Purington, at a 2017 party marking his retirement from Tapestry Health.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Public health leaders in western Massachusetts are mourning the death of advocate Tim Purington, who was best known for his role in protecting drug users from disease.

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Nearly 9,000 children and teens have died from opioid poisonings since the epidemic began in the late 1990s, according to Yale epidemiologist Dr. Julie Gaither. An earlier Yale study found that about 30 kids a year died in hospitals, but this time her team analyzed data on deaths in all settings.

Vermont State Police have disbanded a decades-old program that used military helicopters to spot illicit cannabis farms from on high.

Blood work was supposed to be the last step in Isela’s application for life insurance. But when she arrived at the lab, her appointment had been cancelled.

“That was my first warning,” Isela said. She contacted her insurance agent and was told her application was denied because something on her medication list indicated that Isela uses drugs. Isela, who works in an addiction treatment program at Boston Medical Center (BMC), scanned her med list. It showed a prescription for the opioid-reversal drug naloxone, brand name Narcan.