We stayed sober to read the news about drugs, so you didn't have to. Here's a recap the week's most interesting news in the world of psychoactive substances. To inform, to liberate.

1. The opioid plague swarms the land as darkly as ever, as opioid overdoses skyrocketed by 30 percent in just one year, according to a report from the CDC.

2. The pestilence doesn't spare the kids, as rates of childhood opioid overdoses — accidental and intentional — nearly doubled between 2004 and 2015, says a new study in the journal "Pediatrics."

3. LSD changes the way the brain responds to music. Songs sound different (richer, lusher) because the drug changes its neural response in the gyrus, medial prefrontal cortex, and amygdala, brain scans showed.

4. Ketamine is rising up from the k-hole, showing up in doctor's offices, ambulances — as well as the old-fashioned rave and music festival scene. And it shows the potential of legal psychedelic drugs.

5. Bank on cannabis, as more marijuana businesses find financial institutions are willing to work with them. Almost no federal banks worked with pot in 2013; more than 300 do today.

6. A leafy plant drug called kratom continues to raise the ire of the DEA, who say it's linked to salmonella and 44 deaths. (Their data is highly suspect. Most deaths involved other drugs as well.) Users say it helps them get off opioids; critics say it's just another way to do drugs.

7. African-Americans die more often from cocaine than from heroin. For whites, it's the reverse. Coke is the number two deadliest killer among all illicit drugs, after heroin.

8. A New York judge sacked an ex-NFL player's attempt to get the courts to legalize cannabis. The judge — who is probably way uncool — said the players had to ask the DEA to change its mind.

9. A vote on legal mushrooms in Denver came closer to reality, as the group Colorado for Psilocybin met with city officials to discuss ballot language for a November 2018 vote on decriminalization of the psychedelic.

10. Ayahuasca ≥ meditation, as four sessions of the jungle psychedelic improved mindfulness and "acceptance" capacities as well as an eight week mindfulness-based stress-reduction course, a study showed.  

[Photo: A French graffiti artist has stenciled "Defend taking ketamine." Photo by Thierry Ehrmann from flickr.]