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From profiles of prominent Utah politicians to the faces of the opioid crisis, the Deseret News InDepth section in 2017 gave readers a window into the human side of stories and issues that matter to Utahns and the nation.

The Deseret News investigated the modern-day plague of opioid addiction, publishing a year-long series revealing its causes and exploring solutions. In-depth efforts also produced moving stories about the struggles of the homeless, the mentally ill and refugees from war-torn countries rebuilding their lives in America.

Throughout the year, the Deseret News profiled Utah political leaders including state House Speaker Greg Hughes, Sen. Orrin Hatch and former Congressman Jason Chaffetz, exploring their motivations and impact on Utah and the country.

Other in-depth reporting analyzed precedent-setting legal cases to offer context, understanding and insight into religious liberty and other ongoing issues.

Below, in chronological order, are some of the best Deseret News InDepth stories from 2017.

Greg Hughes might be the most powerful man in Utah politics, if he could just stay out of trouble

The Utah Speaker of the House is a brash, Trump-like figure on Capitol Hill. He also attracts controversy and scandal. Read more.

Special report: 1 in 4 Americans don't think one-night stands count as cheating

A Deseret News survey on adultery highlights people's mixed views of whether certain online behaviors constitute cheating. Read more.

The calculus behind Jason Chaffetz's sudden decision to walk away

Chaffetz rose to prominence as the chief antagonist of Democrats as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but when Donald Trump got elected president everything changed. Read more.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, listens to questions as many of those in attendance hold signs and yell during a town hall meeting at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.

Dying homeless in Salt Lake City

The world identified him as homeless, a person who died on the streets. To his friends, he was Justin — someone who, more than anything, loved to help other people. Read more.

Behind the scenes: How Hatch's loyalty pushed Trump to undo Bears Ears

Hatch's loyalty to Trump, even during the "Access Hollywood" scandal, has resulted in a close relationship with the new president. Here's how that relationship — and the efforts of the Utah congressional delegation — led to executive action that reduced and reconfigured two controversial national monuments in Utah. Read more.

2 Utah women offer two road maps to growing old in an aging America

Old age sneaked up on Betty Newbold, but former Utah first lady Norma Matheson saw it coming. What both women did and didn't do to prepare could be a road map for millions of aging Americans. Read more.

The new asylums: How Utah traps the mentally ill behind bars

Mentally ill inmates are being forced to wait five months or more to get into the Utah State Hospital for help, far exceeding wait times in six other Western states. Some are getting sicker. Some are released. Others are dying. Read more.

Nicole Boliaux, Deseret News
Nate Hall, center, embraces his son, Gabriel, while standing with Alizea Gobel, 5, bottom left, her sister, Haze Hall, 4, bottom right, and other family members in front of Matt Hall's casket during his funeral at Myers Mortuary in Ogden on Saturday, April 15, 2017. Matt Hall was in jail for 15 months until he smashed his head into a wall and jumped off a railing in February. He was paralyzed from the shoulders down until dying from his injuries on April 7.

From Mormon kid to alleged drug kingpin: Inside the rise and fall of Aaron Shamo

The illicit drug trade is undergoing a seismic shift, with Utah in the middle of the deadly trade of the opioid fentanyl. This was the first in an exhaustive ongoing series about this modern-day plague. Read more.

Why is everyone so angry, and how can we change that?

Americans are getting angrier, with potentially devastating effects. Some people work through their anger by paying money to beat printers with baseball bats, but there are other ways to deal with this volatile emotion. Read more.

The Park City story: One boy died, then another — and the opioid epidemic came into full view

In September 2016, two 13-year-old friends in Park City died after overdosing on “pink,” a synthetic opioid from China. Their deaths revealed how the opioid crisis afflicts even affluent communities. Read more.

The truth about Utah's and the nation's gender pay gap

Is the wage gap real? Yes. But it might not be what you think it is. We explore the role workforce flexibility plays in the wage gap and how the pharmacy industry solution offers clues to what might be done. Read more.

How pain pills took a Mormon mom to the depths of opioid addiction and back again

This is the story of one face of the opioid epidemic, a Mormon mom from Utah County who was prescribed pain pills after an accident and descended into an addiction that nearly took her life. Read more.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Whitney Morrill gets help from her mother, Karren, to put on her dress before getting married in Alpine on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017.

Why does the Supreme Court care so much about wedding cakes?

How the case of the Colorado baker at the Supreme Court will frame future religious freedom debates. Read more.

A Mormon refugee family's struggle to survive in Utah

The untold story of how Utah’s affordable housing crisis is entangling many refugees in the cycle of poverty. Read more.

Those who spend more time on their phones report more relationship trouble

The third annual American Family Survey found that 43 percent of heavy tech users (5-8 hours on a phone per day) reported experiencing relationship troubles, compared with 28 percent among those who spend only an hour on their phone each day. Read more.

The rise and fall: An inside look at the decline of BYU's marquee sports programs

The promise of the late 1970s and 1980s is long gone, and the school's big gamble to try life as a college football independent has not yielded the desired results. Read more.

_Scott G Winterton, Deseret News_
_BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum (center) and other offensive players sit on the bench as BYU and LSU play in the Superdome in New Orleans on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017._

Puerto Rico still suffers months after Hurricane Maria. Here's what some are doing to help

Deseret News reporter Amy Donaldson and photojournalist Spenser Heaps traveled to Puerto Rico to chronicle the efforts of Utahns trying to bring relief and comfort to those suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Read more.

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How Utah became one refugee family's final chance at survival

Torn between his parents and his children, Syrian refugee Malek Hamad made an agonizing decision: to leave his aging mother and father in the Middle East and give his three sons the chance for an education. Read more.

Five stories of Utahns who fought opioid addiction — and are still winning

In the midst of the devastation of the opioid crisis sweeping Utah and the nation, hope remains. Meet five Utahns who have fought to reclaim their lives from addiction's grip. Read more.