Every morning before sunup, Trapp drives 120 miles.... "This methadone makes you feel like a human being again," Trapp says. With disability rates as high as 37 percent in coal-mining areas such as Buchanan County, the region has many people with long-term pain management needs. As is the case with lots of aging miners, Trapp's addiction to pills began in a doctor's office, not a back-alley drug deal.... The clinic's counseling staff members say that many patients need to be on some sort of drug to cope with severe, long-term pain and that methadone has made them functional. And for those who lack insurance or access to more personalized care, it is often the only affordable option.
Laura Estrada, 33,... earns just more than $22,000 a year [~ $423/wk] as a customer sales representative... but spends anywhere between $100 and $200 a week on scratch-off tickets, including the $50 [single lottery tickets]. She loves the rush. "Losing $50 makes you perspire; it makes you nervous. 'Gosh, I shouldn't have bought that.' But then you win and it makes you feel great," she said. Her reason for continuing to play? "I have to try to get my money back."... The state spends $33 million a year promoting the games that inspire dreams of instant riches, but several years ago eliminated funding for programs to help problem gamblers.
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