TOP NEWS Legislating has been famously compared to sausage-making – neither of which are processes you want to watch! After several twists and turns, and impassioned debate, U.S. House leaders pulled from consideration the legislative proposal designed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The final version included a move to remove the “Essential Health Benefits, one of which ensures substance use treatment coverage in individual and small group health insurance plans. Here are four key things to know about the EHBs. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep readers apprised of the latest. Hopefully, we will see a bipartisan effort going forward to protect addiction coverage and improve care for all Americans. In other news, Dr. Steve Delisi, Assistant Dean of the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies, spoke this week at a packed #NOverdose town hall meeting in Wayzata, Minn., part of Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek’s 2017 campaign to reduce opioid deaths. Opioids. In 2015, two economists published a landmark paper showing that mortality was rising for white middle-aged Americans after decades of decline. Now—noting increases in ‘deaths of despair’ from drugs, alcohol-related liver diseases and suicide—a new analysis from the same pair paints an even bleaker picture. Meanwhile, this analysis in the Washington Post says the disease killing white Americans goes way deeper than opioids. And while attention remains on the impact the opioid crisis is having on white rural areas and the Rust Belt, this story highlights that opioids have been a constant presence among blacks and Latinos in the Bronx. Poison-control centers nationwide receive 32 calls a day about kids getting their hands on adults’ pain pills, a new study shows. That's once every 45 minutes. Doctors say 60 percent of the cases involve children younger than 5. New study: About 15 percent of people who take prescription painkillers for a week are still taking them a year later; at two weeks, that number jumps to more than 25 percent; and one out of three people who take these meds for a month wind up becoming long-term users. The odds only get worse from there, according to the study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. No surprise: OxyContin drugmaker seeks to dismiss city’s lawsuit. Changes at the VA appear to be resulting in fewer opioid problems, according to this report. A new study, though, looked at veterans and all substance use issues, determining that vets with alcohol or other drug problems are more than twice as likely to die by suicide, and women veterans with substance use disorders have an even higher rate of suicide—more than five times as great. Experts in Tennessee are warning about U-47700, also called “Pink” due to its color. An opioid developed in the 1970s and never approved for human use, “Pink” is more potent than heroin and is now emerging as a street-level drug linked to multiple deadly overdoses across the country. A Maine man has created an electronic Overdose Warning Network. One wouldn’t normally think of the library as a place where many drug overdoses take place. But, after six overdoses in as many weeks, the Denver Public Library is now equipping staff with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. This report shows that the naloxone nasal spray is working pretty well in the real world, reversing the vast majority of opioid overdoses for which it is deployed. A reminder that while it’s deadly on the streets, fentanyl can be a lifesaver in the operating room. Americans struggling with opioid addiction miss 50 percent more work than everyone else. Try out this cool new tool to help employers calculate the costs of substance use disorders in their own workplace. Another free resource: “The Opioid Crisis in America” is a seven-week, self-paced course taught by Harvard Medical School faculty, featuring interviews with nearly 20 doctors and nurses, policy experts, police officers, pharmacists, and harm-reduction experts. Marijuana. Wondering where marijuana legalization debates are these days? This report on the debate in Connecticut provides a thorough account on both sides. Our view, of course, is that marijuana is far from benign, as families and law enforcement attested at this recent community forum there. This week’s sign of the apocalypse: a marijuana gym. It actually encourages clients to use cannabis as part of their fitness routine. And the inevitable in California: marijuana entrepreneurs teaming with wine industry to promote cannabis and wine pairing dinners. Actor and well-known marijuana enthusiast Woody Harrelson has quit smoking weed after “30 solid years.” And he has a new movie out today, featuring a number of scenes shot in Minnesota … Alcohol. Can old prescription drugs provide new treatments for alcohol use disorder? A researcher is trying to find out by scouring thousands of medications originally created for other conditions. Women lawyers are being driven to drink. Criminal justice. Great feature on a supermarket chain that is finding talent in former drug dealers and helping them successfully re-enter society after prison. Advocate spotlight. Chance the Rapper speaks out about mental illness in the black community. Actress Katey Sagal has a new memoir out, featuring her recovery. Pop music artist Demi Lovato marks five years of recovery with Instagram post. Stigma. Why do we focus energy on sharing recovery stories to smash stigma? Because of what this man said at a recent event in Maine: “The most important words I heard were, ‘Me too.’ It helped me to understand I wasn’t alone. And if they could find recovery, I could too. It was possible."