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Opioids, a worldwide scourge
Opioids, a worldwide scourge
Ayaz Ali

Back in 2017, the Philadelphia Inquirer spoke with Chera Kowalski of the city's McPherson Square Park library, which had become something of a refuge for drug addicts with nowhere else to turn. In the previous two months alone, the then 33-year-old librarian had performed CPR and administered opioid-overdose spray Narcan on eight different overdose victims. Similar scenes have been playing out in towns across the U.S. in recent years, as an explosion of opioid addiction has turned into a veritable national public health emergency.

Part of a category of dopamine-releasing chemicals (with "opiate" used to specify natural opioids like morphine), opioid abuse traces its origins back through history, from the 19th-century Opium Wars in China to the 1970s spread of heroin abuse in the West. Today, the emergency is perhaps more insidious, as readily prescribed pharmaceutical painkillers start to lead to addiction and a gateway to heroin on the street. While in prior times, opioid abuse may have been concentrated in deprived communities, prescription opioids can now put almost anyone at risk.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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