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Grief Without Shame: Parents Use Obituaries To Find Hope In The Aftermath Of Opioid Addiction

Andrew Russell
Photos show Kristen Bachner, who died at age 31 on Aug. 4, 2017, from complications of 17 years of drug use. Her mother, Ann Wilkinson, spoke to Tribune-Review journalists recently about her decision to acknowledge Kristen's drug use in her obituary.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the beleaguered Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

First, the authority was fined $2.4 million by the state Department of Environmental Protection; state lawmakers passed a bill to give the Public Utility Commission oversight; and a consultant sent recommendations to an advisory panel on how to restructure by 2018.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Bob Bauder and 90.5 WESA’s infrastructure and development reporter Margaret J. Krauss explain it all.

Next in the program....

A trio of local families grieving the recent opioid-related deaths of their loved ones wrote candid obituaries memorializing the good and bad of their children's abbreviated lives. 

Reporter Megan Guza and photojournalist Andrew Russell talk about the families' reasoning. The report published online Thursday was their latest chronicling the ongoing effect of opioids on Southwestern Pennsylvania, and included visuals from fellow Trib Total Media journalist Kristina Serafini

And finally...

Activists fear the Pennsylvania legislature may pick up a dormant abortion bill that would prohibit access to the medical procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Many fetal abnormalities can't be detected before that milestone, and even if they could, most insurers don't cover early testing.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy could be the deciding vote in similar cases likely to appear before SCOTUS in the next few years. Jessica Mason Pieklo, senior legal analyst for the nonprofit journalism group Rewire, which covers women's health and social justice issues, joins Pittsburgh City Paper News Editor Rebecca Addison to the odds.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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