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What We're Reading: Heroin and Big Pharma

 A heroin user can be seen in this file photo.
A heroin user can be seen in this file photo.
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The Foundation of the Heroin Epidemic: Drug cartels, drug markets and in general, bad guys, are at or near the center of most discussions on the current heroin crisis. Pacific Standard goes to the root of the problem and finds big pharma liable. The article examines the history of OxyContin and America's addiction to pain meds, which have lead to what the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention calls the "worst drug overdose epidemic" in our country's history. Experts have noted that people become addicted to opioids and then find heroin cheaper than pain pills.

Suing Prisoners for Room and Board: TheTribune reports an uptick in cases the prison department brings against inmates to recoup the cost of his imprisonment. The story follows Johnny Melton, who served 15 months in prison for a drug conviction, but received over $30,000 in a settlement for his mother's wrongful death. Before he was released, the Department of Corrections sued him for $20,000 for his incarceration. When he was released earlier this year, he was forced into a homeless shelter and received food stamps before dying in June without a dime to his name, his family said.

A Governor Attempts to Remake Illinois: The New York Times offers an in-depth examination into Gov. Bruce Rauner's finances and how he and the state's uber-wealthy are using money to reshape Illinois. "Five months into the fiscal year, the state has no budget. ... Now, every month, Illinois falls even further behind on its bills. Illinois politicians, on the other hand, are flush as never before," the Times says.

Dominos sells pizza in Italy, too: Orange chicken and sesame shrimp are delicious but they're not "Chinese-Chinese" dishes; they're "Chinese-American" recipes created in the U.S. for U.S. tastes. But, as it turns out, many  Chinese love our version, too. The BBC has a report on two Americans who have opened an Americanized Chinese restaurant in Shanghai called Fortune Cookie. The place is packed. "Some locals come into the restaurant and ask for their food to be served in American-style white cardboard takeaway containers, mimicking meals they've seen on sitcoms like Friends and the Big Bang Theory," writes reporter Celia Hatton.

The Chandler Bing character once observed that in China, natives call Chinese food "food." [NBC]