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Morning Update: Whale Come To The Jungle

How a small town beat the opioid crisis, a mysterious whale in the jungle, and an inspirational hockey kid. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, February 26.

Posted on February 26, 2019, at 7:38 a.m. ET

Here's How One Small Town Beat The Opioid Epidemic

An opioid crisis is gripping the US: Over 70,000 people in the country died from overdoses last year. But Little Falls, Minnesota — a town of 8,000 people — has a plan that may be the way forward.

It didn’t do anything revolutionary. It just spent real money on basic public health measures: limiting prescription refills, increasing access to addiction medications, and putting drug users in treatment programs instead of jail. In other words, they began treating addiction as a disease instead of a crime.

And it worked: Emergency room visits to obtain painkillers fell from the top occurrence to out of the top 20 within six months after St. Gabriel’s Hospital started monitoring prescriptions. There are now 100 patients on addiction medication at the hospital, and 626 people have been tapered off opioids.

CHI St. Gabriel's Health

Monica Rudolph, a former heroin addict who now coaches people through their recovery, with Dr. Kurt DeVine.

Records Show How A US-Born Marine Ended Up In ICE Custody

When Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was arrested in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a police captain sent an email to a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer with a summary of the allegations, Ramos-Gomez’s name, and a request: “Could you please check his status?”

ICE responded, saying that they determined he was in the country illegally and would take him into custody. But Ramos-Gomez was a US citizen and Marine who served in Afghanistan — facts even the prosecutor handling the case pointed out to police. “I am confused,” the prosecutor wrote. “Didn’t his property have a US Passport in it? And he was a veteran?!”

The emails come from communications obtained through a public records request by the ACLU of Michigan that reveal how Ramos-Gomez — who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder — ended up in ICE detention even though he was born in the US. The case has sparked outcry from advocates across the country and even caused the local sheriff to change policies governing how they interact with ICE.

Snapshots

A vegan YouTuber ate raw eggs after a 35-day water fast and now it's a whole thing. Tim Shieff’s admission that he now eats meat for health reasons has made many vegans angry, and led to his ouster from the vegan clothing company he founded.

Jorge Ramos and a Univision news crew accompanying him were briefly detained in Venezuela. They were interviewing President Nicolas Maduro, and Ramos reportedly called him a "dictator" and "murderer." According to the network, their equipment and portions of the interview were confiscated.

Australian Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of sexual abuse against two choirboys in the 1990s. The 77-year-old is the highest-ranked Catholic in the world to be found guilty of historic sexual offences.

A dead whale was found 50 feet into the Amazon jungle, and no one's sure how it got there. It's likely the humpback was already dead before it washed ashore and was pushed inland by the tide, eventually settling in the mangroves.

There are two different ceremonies at the Oscars. Scaachi Koul, who went to Sunday's Academy Awards, found them both: a beautiful dream inside the theater, and a bleak reality at the lobby bar. Come for the glitz, stay for the man tipping a bartender with a program. Oh, and they were just fine without a host.

This Dad Mic’d Up His Son At Hockey Practice And It’s Super Cute

Jeremy Rupke, a Canadian hockey coach and dad, noticed his son Mason was always chatting during practice, so he put a microphone on him and filmed him. The video is full of gems, like Mason convincing himself he’s a good “score-der” and inexplicably wishing everyone a “Happy Halloween.” Check it out, because I think the kid might have a future in writing newsletter sign-offs.

Jeremy Rupke

Mason, a good score-der.

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