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Robert Stivers
Lawmakers battle disease, death in legislature's final week

The first time Michelle Walters used heroin her skin turned yellow, her stomach wrenched in pain and she threw up. She had hepatitis C, most likely from a dirty needle a friend used to shoot her up. She recovered after an expensive hospital stay she could not pay for, and she would soon be back. By her count, she has been hospitalized at least eight times to fight off various infections from the dirty needles she uses to get high. But not lately. In the past year, Walters has had a steady supply of clean needles from the Cincinnati Exchange Product, an advocacy group that operates just across the river from where she lives in northern Kentucky. She says she has not been to the hospital...