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This Week's Circulars

Obituaries

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St. Teresa of Avila reverently wrote these words: “ … Christ has no body but yours; no hand, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which his compassion looks out upon the world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.” 

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If anyone doubts the impact the current opiate crisis has had on communities north of Boston, all they had to do was stop by Derby Square in Salem yesterday.

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Fentanyl can kill an opiate addict just as easily as heroin. Yet trafficking in the powerful synthetic drug -- more than 50 times more powerful than heroin -- is not illegal in Massachusetts, and the gap in enforcement has exacerbated the death and suffering wrought by the current epidemic.

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There is growing support to repeal mandatory sentencing for drug offenses sponsored by numerous state legislators and also backed by a Washington-based group, Families Against Mandatory Minimums. The motivations are varied but a common theme certainly can be attributed to public reaction to …

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For those whose primary view of life comes from television and movies, heroin and opiate addiction happen somewhere else. The world of the fictional heroin junkie is a squalid one, populated by the dregs of society lurking in dark alleys, desperately seeking their next high.

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She seemed paranoid, agitated and unable to look me in the eye. She was young, 18, 19 maybe, addicted. The hair disheveled, a sandwich half-eaten in her left hand, taking bites of it, her right hand wiping her face intermittently with the back of it or pushing her eyeglasses toward her face …

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Ten years ago, the pages of this paper were filled with stories of families held hostage to opiate addiction. Young men and women barely out of high school found themselves in jail, their promising lives derailed by heroin and OxyContin. Children wept for parents lost to overdose. Parents in…