Martha Bebinger, Kaiser Health News

Martha Bebinger

Kaiser Health News

Boston, MA, United States

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Recent articles by Martha:

They Call It ‘Tranq’ — And It’s Making Street Drugs Even More Dangerous

Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, has made it into the illegal drug supply of opioids and cocaine. It is changing the way outreach workers treat overdoses and may be responsible for grisly injuries… → Read More


An animal tranquilizer is making street drugs even more dangerous

The sedative xylazine is starting to permeate illegal opioids and cocaine. It does not respond to naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, and may be to blame for grisly injuries and infections. → Read More

Somerville maps fastest path to state's first supervised consumption clinic — starting in a parking lot

The first supervised consumption clinic in Massachusetts may be a portable unit placed in a parking lot in Somerville. That’s one of the recommendations in an operations and location report out today, the latest step in Somerville’s bid to move this controversial project forward. → Read More

Beyond sunburns: How hot weather can hurt you

There's a heat wave in New England, and with the hot weather comes the usual warnings about heat-related health issues. But what exactly can the heat do to you? WBUR's Martha Bebinger met with an ER doctor in a park on a hot summer day to find out. → Read More

Study estimates air pollution killed 2,780 Massachusetts residents in a year

Massachusetts residents have the first glimpse of the toll air pollution is taking on their city or town. Wayland, Amherst and Sherborn have some of the lowest rates, while some towns on Cape Cod and near Pittsfield are among the highest. → Read More


She tried to avoid plastic while grocery shopping for a week. Here's how it went

Worried about the proliferation of plastic trash in the environment and her own body, a journalist tried to shop plastic-free for 7 days. She found plastic in a lot of sneaky and surprising places. → Read More

Overdose deaths reached a record high in Mass. during 2021

A stunning 2,290 people likely died after an overdose in Massachusetts last year, setting a new record. Experts believe COVID-related stressors and fentanyl contributed to the increase. → Read More

In Chelsea, cooling an urban heat island one block at a time

An intensive effort is underway to lower temperatures on one of the hottest blocks in Massachusetts. The Cool Block pilot includes 47 new trees. Dark pavement will become gray or white. Local environmentalists and the city aim to install a white roof on the largest building and turn a vacant lot into a park. → Read More

As cocaine and meth use rise in Mass., state commission outlines action plan

In the first half of 2021, 52% of overdose deaths in the state involved cocaine. A state commission recommended several efforts, including widespread access to harm reduction supplies, more training for first responders and better access to new treatment options. → Read More

It's hard to avoid plastic while grocery shopping — even for a week

As part of WBUR’s new newsletter, “Cooked,” my challenge was to purchase a week’s worth of food and leave the store without any plastic in my bag. That means no jugs of juice, cellophane windows in chip bags, or even stickers on some produce. → Read More


Drug overdose deaths are at a record high. Here's what the White House plans to do

Harm reduction is one of four policies the Biden administration says must be immediately implemented in order to address the record high number of overdose deaths. → Read More

How $526 million in opioid settlements will be distributed in Massachusetts

Massachusetts expects to receive $526 million in the latest resolution of lawsuits stemming from the opioid crisis. 40% of the funds will go to cities and towns that sued Johnson & Johnson and three drug distributors, and other municipalities that join the agreement. The balance will go into a state trust fund used to reduce addiction and deaths. → Read More


Purdue Pharma, Sacklers reach $6 billion deal with state attorneys general

The deal, hashed out over weeks of intense negotiations, raises the amount paid by the Sacklers by more than $1 billion. In exchange, the family members win immunity from civil opioid lawsuits. → Read More

Many Mass. hospitals are short-staffed. The culprit may not be a shortage of nurses

According to state data, there are 24% more registered nurses now than there were before the pandemic. So why do many hospitals and clinics have job openings? → Read More

Mass. doctors switch COVID-19 treatment amid omicron surge, with new drugs available in limited supply

Dr. Sandeep Jubbal of UMass Memorial says on Friday doctors are switching to a new monoclonal antibody treatment shown to be effective against omicron for patients at high risk of severe COVID-19. → Read More

What specialized clinics may do for long COVID, as many questions remain

Post-COVID clinics are emerging to support patients with this still mysterious, debilitating disease and treat their symptoms. Patient advocates want more attention on the cause of and remedies for long COVID. → Read More

716 psych patients are stuck in emergency rooms waiting for care, Mass. report shows

The first of what will be weekly reports from hospitals across Massachusetts shows 716 patients who need acute psychiatric care and can’t get it. → Read More


The Purdue Pharma Deal Would Deliver Billions, But Individual Payouts Will Be Small

People who were addicted to OxyContin or lost loved ones who were addicted to the drug expect very little in compensation from the multibillion-dollar Purdue Pharma bankruptcy settlement. → Read More

Mass. Families React To Purdue Settlement: ‘We Need To Start Abating This Epidemic Yesterday’

A federal judge has approved a bankruptcy deal that settles more than 3,000 lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin -- including a sweeping case filed by Massachusetts. → Read More

Trees: Our Mental, Physical, Climate Change Antidote

Trees offer some hope in the face of climate change. What's more, growing research suggests these carbon-guzzling natural wonders deliver countless health benefits, too. But, while that's a boon for people who live near or among trees, those who don’t lose out. → Read More