May 3, 2019

The Rise of Fentanyl: Drug Addiction On The I-95 – Two Years On (Video)

Drug overdose is now the main cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, they are more likely to die from a drug overdose than a car accident or gun.


More than 70,000 people died from overdoses last year as opioids and illegal fentanyl.

Two years ago, BBC News reported on the growing problem of opioid addiction in the US, now we return to find out what happened to the people we met along our journey down the notorious I-95, the interstate that runs from Florida to Maine, and to see what has become of their struggle against addiction.


If you, or someone you know, have been affected by addiction, the following organisations may be able to help.: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/artic…

Two years ago, BBC News reported on the growing problem of opioid addiction in the US, now we return to find out what happened to the people we met along our journey down the notorious I-95, the interstate that runs from Florida to Maine, and to see what has become of their struggle against addiction.

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by addiction, the following organisations may be able to help.: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/artic…

Full Video Transcript follows


00:00
# Oh, say can you see...? #
00:05
Get him on the ground.
00:07
HE GROANS Get him on the ground.
00:08
Sir!
00:10
It is the number one public health challenge of our time.
00:15
Sir!
00:17
Pulse.
00:19
MAN CONTINUES TO GROAN
00:21
It's not a poor people thing any more, it's not a inner-city
00:25
ghetto drug any more, it's everywhere.
00:32
It's hard to even recognise some of these people when they've lost
00:35
a lot of their humanity down here.
00:43
Tomorrow's not a promise.
00:46
It's not heroin that's killing our people, it's fentanyl.
00:49
MUSIC: Star-Spangled Banner
00:51
I'm not going to die from this.
00:52
Like, I'm not. Not going to die from this.
00:57
It was like, we went from 20 overdoses to 80 overdoses
00:59
in the matter of a month and we were like, "What the hell happened?"
01:03
# In the land of the free... #
01:05
I feel like it's a waste of my life,
01:07
it's a fucking waste of everything.
01:11
# And the home of the... #
01:17
I would say that fentanyl is the Horseman of the Apocalypse,
01:20
and it's the one named Death.
01:28
# ..brave. # SIRENS WAIL
01:41
For decades, Interstate 95 has been notorious for its role
01:44
in the illegal drug trade in America.
01:50
Stretching from Florida to Maine, this corridor gives cartels
01:54
easy entry to major cities.
02:15
We first met Anna two years ago.
02:18
She was a new resident
02:19
on Baltimore's backstreets of addiction.
02:23
A lot of people walking by.
02:28
All right, come on...
02:32
SHE YELPS
02:33
Do not do that!
02:35
Dude, you scratched me!
02:47
Are you OK?
02:49
Little bit of a rush?
03:01
Anna was recently released from jail after serving two weeks
03:04
for prostitution - which means two weeks on no heroin.
03:09
What time is it? And since then, she claims to have only taken pills.
03:14
What time is it?
03:15
Is there something in it? Barely.
03:17
If you want it, I'll go grab it...
03:19
The last two years, I guess nothing's changed
03:23
but everything's changed. I know that sounds really weird
03:26
but I'm still down here,
03:28
I'm still jumping from house to house.
03:32
I'm still with the same guy.
03:35
I feel a little trapped.
03:39
I'm scared to shoot up again but I know eventually
03:42
I probably will if I stay down here.
03:46
I'm not sure if I see my future right now.
03:50
I mean really when I think about it, I don't know
03:54
what I'm going to do in three years, I don't know what I'm going
03:58
to do tomorrow, I don't know what I'm going to do in an hour.
04:01
I mean, all I can do is hope that I'll do the right thing,
04:04
you know, and not what I'm doing now.
04:21
This is gang-run west Baltimore,
04:23
the epicentre of Baltimore's opioid epidemic.
04:42
Patty, a former addict, formed Angels of Addiction
04:45
just after her son died of a heroin overdose.
04:50
Here, walk on my feet.
04:52
A lifeline to the lost, she has fed and clothed addicts
04:55
and their families on these streets for years.
05:00
Any time, 24/7.
05:03
I lost my only son in 2002, and God blessed me with many,
05:09
many children and it's an honour to serve them
05:13
and they're very precious people, a lot suffer from the disease
05:17
of addiction, it's a very big problem, an epidemic here.
05:23
I could never count throughout the years how many people
05:26
that I've helped or known that have died from this disease.
05:33
At least 100 people in the last few years.
05:35
It's sad because they're my...
05:38
You know, next time we come, somebody might say,
05:41
oh, so-and-so didn't make it.
05:45
That happens often.
05:48
Especially since this fentanyl has been out.
06:01
Fentanyl is very dangerous, because it's stronger
06:04
than the heroin and people are overdosing on it and it's, you know,
06:09
really scary and very alarming and we're...
06:14
We're losing a lot of people.
06:23
I chase fentanyl, I chase carfentanil
06:26
because it's the only dope I can feel any more.
06:29
But it is a big problem, because it's so powerful,
06:35
people that have been clean for years and just recently decided
06:40
to relapse, erm, they end up OD-ing.
06:46
You know, off of a half or a quarter pill.
06:49
That's what it is, it's not heroin.
06:52
I used to get high, I don't get high no more.
06:55
I'm just addicted to the cut, fentanyl.
06:57
They stick it in capsules and then you stick
07:01
it in your arm, not knowing what you're getting.
07:04
And it could be a little bit of nothing or a whole lot
07:09
of too much.
07:11
And I've had friends drop...
07:16
Several, more than several,
07:19
handfuls, that have had a little bit too much.
07:23
Every day coming down here, seeing my friends,
07:26
I would hear about one of them overdosing or dying.
07:31
It's very dangerous and it's killing a lot of people.
07:35
The sickness of addiction is when you hear people overdosing
07:39
and dying, the addict wants to know, where's that stuff?
07:45
Because they want the stronger, longer-lasting stuff.
07:50
But they don't realise that that's that next hit,
07:53
that may be the last.
08:10
The bottle's empty.
08:11
Thank you, ma'am. I appreciate it.
08:17
Probably nine out of ten people do fentanyl and don't even know it.
08:20
None of us know what we're doing.
08:23
A lot of the people that we know either died or moved
08:26
or went to jail.
08:28
Some go to rehab but they always come back.
08:32
Everyone out here is hooked on fentanyl.
08:34
It's not really so much the heroin, like I said, it's not even in it.
08:38
The fentanyl's what everybody's into it now.
08:43
I said I'm not going to leave my boyfriend ever.
08:46
And if he's down here, I'm down here.
08:49
Either he goes to jail, or I go to jail,
08:51
we've never been clean together since I've been with him.
08:54
Well, since we've gotten high.
08:59
She said she hasn't used no needles, so I'm proud
09:01
of her, she's been doing good.
09:03
But she always threatens me, so that's her threat,
09:05
and that would make my heart, I told her it would break my heart.
09:51
We meet Anna as she searches for her morning fix.
09:57
Addiction seems to be fighting back.
10:06
Hi.
10:07
Hiya. Hiya.
10:12
Yes, I'm fine, you don't have to ask.
10:15
SHE MUMBLES
10:17
I'm fine.
10:27
How was your night?
10:29
Great!
10:30
Tell us what happened? Nothing.
10:40
The last thing I feel like doing is fucking talking right now.
10:45
Yeah, I'm still here.
10:52
Anna and Dave squat in abandoned houses, moving frequently to avoid
10:57
being found by landlords or police.
11:00
The landlord actually ended up coming while we were inside
11:05
so we had to hurry up and go hide in one of the rooms
11:07
and then escape out the house when he wasn't looking.
11:11
So I again got interrupted on my sleep.
11:18
What did you spend your money on?
11:20
I got a pill, he got a pill and then we each bought crack
11:25
after we got our deal.
11:27
That we needed, like gas and stuff.
11:33
What were the pills?
11:36
I don't know, dope?
11:39
What else?
11:44
Then you said you had to go get some more money,
11:46
how did you do that?
11:47
Go and get a date.
11:50
Anna prostitutes herself for the money needed to buy drugs
11:52
for herself and her boyfriend Dave.
11:54
It never ends, you know?
12:02
I wasn't even planning on going outside.
12:04
It's just that we didn't have any money.
12:11
So because of that, it took me for ever to get a date.
12:18
What time of day were you out trying to get a date?
12:21
It was night-time.
12:22
What time of night?
12:25
Something like five in the morning.
12:30
But I didn't go until like one in the morning.
12:32
I can't remember, but I usually go in and out,
12:37
I don't just...
12:39
What I mean is I usually go outside, I'll get a date then I hurry.
12:43
Get the money, either rob them or just do a super date
12:46
and come back home and then I go back out, before morning.
12:53
Or it depends, sometimes I don't even know I want to do drugs
12:56
and we hang out.
12:58
Most people, when they are 23, have a goal in life,
13:02
have wishes, desires.
13:05
Do you have any?
13:07
No.
13:14
I don't plan no more.
13:25
Why not?
13:27
I guess because it's like too late to fix.
13:51
Anna still claims that she has not injected heroin
13:53
since her release from jail.
14:00
Her body tells a different story.
14:10
She heads off in search for a place to stay for the night.
14:17
But that wasn't her first priority.
15:06
I was just sniffing it just to try it and make sure the powder's...
15:10
Like, heroin's bitter, but fentanyl has kind of like got
15:14
a sweeter taste to it.
15:28
Anna is back in the full grip of her addiction.
15:33
I don't know how to live in any other way no more.
15:38
Am I wrong?
15:42
Like, we don't know what else to do, do you understand?
15:47
Like, when people break their arm and legs,
15:49
they need rehab to walk.
15:51
Like, we need rehab to learn how to live, like all over again.
16:22
Name's Nathan O'Brien.
16:23
I'm from Kentucky.
16:25
My name is Olivia Light, I'm from Ojai, California.
16:27
My name's Ed, I'm from New Haven, Connecticut.
16:29
I'm Johnny Montasanno, I'm from Long Island, New York.
16:32
My name's Al, I'm from Ocean County, New Jersey.
16:34
My name's Joe Wilkins, I'm from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
16:37
My name's Tommy, I'm from Birmingham, Alabama.
16:39
My name's Millie, I'm from Currituck, North Carolina.
16:41
I'm addicted to heroin. I was addicted to heroin
16:44
and prescription opiates. I was addicted to heroin.
16:46
I struggled with heroin for four years.
16:48
I'm a recovering heroin addict.
16:49
I struggle with prescription pills and heroin.
16:52
My addiction was pain pills and heroin.
16:54
I struggled with heroin.
17:07
Over the course of the last two years, I wouldn't say
17:11
that it got better.
17:12
I would say that it's gotten worse.
17:15
We see more and more patients coming in that have experienced
17:19
multiple overdoses prior to coming in.
17:23
I really don't see an end in it.
17:25
I don't see it getting better at all.
17:29
Jodi has dealt with the opioid crisis since she was a child.
17:34
Her mother is a lifelong addict.
17:39
And she now runs an addiction recovery centre in Florida.
17:47
This addiction changed me from being a talented,
17:51
ambitious young kid
17:54
into basically a degenerate, just a shadow.
17:58
It took my family, my friends, my freedom.
18:00
It took everything.
18:01
My addiction took my self-worth, my dignity, my self-respect.
18:07
My health, my friends and family, my education, money.
18:11
What are they going to do with me?
18:13
I couldn't get a job, I couldn't keep the job.
18:14
Most of my family members consider me dead.
18:18
I'm thankful that we have a place where patients can come,
18:25
seek help in a safe environment
18:29
to start working on the reasons why they turn to drugs.
18:42
But every single day it's a multitude of new people.
18:51
It's like the floodgates have opened and it's just non-stop.
18:58
I've been clean for four and a half years.
19:00
And two months, I'll have five years.
19:02
Currently, I've been clean over 100 days.
19:05
Just over one year.
19:06
I've been clean for, the 23rd of this month,
19:08
it will be 60 days.
19:10
Since March 20, 2017.
19:12
I mean, the date resonates in my brain, March 19, 2016.
19:16
That's when I got clean and it wasn't easy,
19:20
but it was the most glorious experience of my life.
19:24
Brittney seems to have travelled a long way from her days
19:26
of addiction.
19:28
But the beaches of Jacksonville, Florida are only a couple of hours'
19:31
drive from Orlando, where Jodi first introduced
19:34
us to Brittney two years ago.
19:36
When Brittney admitted to The Recovery Village,
19:39
she absolutely was ready for treatment
19:42
and admitted the fact that she had an addiction problem.
19:46
She had OD'd several times - very, very close calls -
19:51
and she was ready.
19:56
I'm addicted to heroin.
20:01
SHE SOBS
20:05
I want to stop, but I can't.
20:11
It's that right here - I remember thinking how would it feel
20:15
if my mother would have seen me at her kitchen table,
20:18
where, you know, I grew up eating at.
20:21
I don't know, it's just when you're in addiction, you don't care.
20:30
Find the Narcan, find the Narcan.
20:33
Seeing that video,
20:36
watching her at this table...
20:41
..and nodding off as they call it,
20:45
nodding and falling asleep
20:48
and then pretty much drooling, it was horrible.
20:52
It was really devastating to see that.
21:01
I was sick for three months, like, throwing up constantly.
21:07
I thought it was a bad flu.
21:09
I got all these different tests done,
21:11
one of them was a pregnancy test.
21:13
I remember her coming back and telling me, "You're positive."
21:16
And I was like, "I'm positive for what?"
21:18
And she told me I was pregnant and I immediately started bawling.
21:21
Brittney had a baby girl, beautiful, sweet baby girl.
21:27
Say cheese, baby, say cheese.
21:30
And about a month after that, sadly, Brittney relapsed again.
21:40
And this was very devastating.
21:50
My mom...
21:53
Me and my mom got in a fight earlier in that morning.
21:58
My mom said some things she didn't mean and I was already
22:03
in a very bad mental place.
22:05
I went out to get formula and ended up at a gas station
22:10
and an old dealer ended up being at that same gas station.
22:14
Ended up purchasing a bag, but I came home and we had a nice
22:19
dinner, held my baby, I sat right here.
22:23
We had been sitting here at the table,
22:26
chitchatting and the baby was snoozing.
22:31
Brittney had asked me, that she wanted to go to the bathroom.
22:37
So the baby started waking up and I held the baby.
22:42
Then Brittney was in the bathroom.
22:44
I remember sitting on the toilet and talking to my mom
22:47
from the living room.
22:50
And I snorted the whole bag.
22:53
My mom's in the other room with my child and,
22:58
and I just kind of nodded off and I felt OK for a little bit.
23:04
And my mom's voice got distant and then everything went black.
23:08
And I had the baby in my arms and I go into the bathroom
23:13
and she is passed out, gurgling and drooling from the mouth,
23:20
leaning against the wall, sitting on the toilet.
23:23
Um...
23:26
It was devastating, it was scary.
23:29
I had to get her to wake up and I ran into the living room,
23:36
the baby was sleeping again.
23:38
I put her down in her little bed and ran back into the bathroom
23:46
shaking and screaming at Brittney and smacking her on her face
23:49
to try to get her to come out of it.
23:51
And she'd finally came out of it, I'm at the same time trying
23:56
to call 911.
23:57
And came out of it to my mom holding my baby in her arms,
24:02
on the phone with paramedics, trying to bring me to.
24:06
I just felt nothing but anger.
24:08
Anger, frustration again,
24:10
and I really, I was so angry at her, so angry and so hurt,
24:17
and so confused how she could do that.
24:20
I did not know what happened.
24:22
But once I started putting things together,
24:24
I was just kind of in disbelief at myself.
24:28
So...
24:35
I wasn't thinking about my daughter, I wasn't, I didn't care about my mom
24:39
or how she felt.
24:42
I just felt so depressed.
24:47
And not good enough, like, I just felt like my daughter
24:49
didn't deserve me. She deserved better.
24:51
I felt like my mother could raise her,
24:55
I mean, it's just...
25:00
But, yeah.
25:05
You just don't think that they're going do this again,
25:09
especially now, especially with a baby,
25:12
especially knowing that you have that beautiful
25:17
little baby, how could do you this?
25:20
This drug pulls them in, like none other.
25:26
It steals their dreams, it steals their lives.
25:31
It's almost stole my grandbaby's mother from us again.
25:44
I've told Brittney that one of the saddest things I would ever
25:49
have to do would be to have to tell
25:53
my granddaughter about her mother,
25:58
that her mother was an addict, and she tried very hard to get
26:05
past this addiction, but was unable to,
26:11
and died from it.
26:20
In 2017, we had just under 72,000 Americans die of drug overdoses.
26:27
Jay, Jay look at me.
26:29
That's a phenomenal number.
26:30
It's almost hard to imagine.
26:32
Has he taken drugs or anything? I have no idea.
26:37
It is the number one public health challenge of our time.
26:41
Opioids are now the biggest drug epidemic in American history.
26:45
The number of deaths from opioid abuse have skyrocketed
26:49
over the past 15 years...
26:50
Killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.
26:53
That's more deaths than from car accidents and from guns.
26:56
Emergency services overwhelmed.
26:58
Another family burying a loved one.
27:01
She overdosed in her car, while her two-year-old daughter
27:04
was in the back seat.
27:06
CHILD CRIES
27:13
CHILD SOBS
27:14
In certain age groups, between 25 and 34
27:17
in the United States, 20% of all deaths
27:21
are due to opioid overdoses.
27:23
Of that 72,000, the majority are opioids and the majority
27:27
of the opioids are the synthetic products, such as fentanyl.
27:31
Fentanyl is taking the opioid epidemic to a new level of urgency.
27:35
Fentanyl, a drug more powerful than heroin.
27:38
It's 50-100 times more potent than morphine.
27:41
Fentanyl's so potent, you could die with the syringe still in your arm.
27:46
It's so potent, so incredibly potent,
27:48
that it only takes a few milligrams to cause a death,
27:51
and now we see fentanyl lacing not only the heroin supply,
27:55
but we see it in cocaine and methamphetamine,
27:57
in all sorts of drugs because it's dirt cheap.
28:00
If heroin's the devil,
28:03
to continue with the biblical analogy,
28:07
I would say that fentanyl is a Horseman of the Apocalypse
28:11
and it's the one named Death,
28:13
because it just brings death.
28:49
All right.
28:51
Yeah, if you just go straight here I'll show you
28:53
some of the more affected areas.
28:57
Kensington is Philadelphia's Ground Zero for opioids.
29:02
And it has just been declared a disaster zone.
29:07
Dan's family has also battled with addiction.
29:11
He now fights on behalf of those still struggling.
29:14
I mean, this becomes what the neighbourhood is.
29:17
You see, most people around here you're going to see are high.
29:21
You know, so the neighbourhood is almost entirely consistent
29:24
of people who are abusing.
29:30
Can't walk through this neighbourhood
29:31
without being offered drugs.
29:33
It's hard to even recognise some of these people,
29:35
it just seems like they're in a jungle.
29:39
And they've lost a lot of their humanity down here.
29:44
Heroin's been in Philadelphia for decades,
29:46
this is not a new story.
29:48
It's just that recently the death toll has gotten so out of hand
29:53
and the farther you look, the more you realise how truly
29:55
desperate things have become.
30:01
I believe in 2016 we had 272 homicides
30:05
and over 900 overdose deaths.
30:07
Last year we had around 300 homicides and 1,200 overdosed.
30:11
So it went from being three times the murder rate
30:14
to four times the murder rate in one year.
30:27
If you look at the charts of what opioids are killing people
30:29
or what drugs are killing people, in recent years fentanyl
30:32
has just taken off literally just like a rocket,
30:35
but now because of, you know, how deep some of these people
30:38
are in the throes of addiction and how high their tolerance is,
30:41
fentanyl has become introduced slowly into the mix so that people
30:44
can get high again, because what some people
30:47
don't realise, is that a lot of these people who are using drugs
30:50
on a regular basis aren't necessarily using it to get high,
30:52
they're using it to maintain their addiction, make their headache
30:55
go away, to sort of regulate.
30:59
Any amount of fentanyl would kill most people who aren't
31:03
addicted almost instantly.
31:07
If it continues to get worse, like, where does it go from here?
31:15
I am a heroin user.
31:16
I've been using heroin for about 20 years.
31:19
Alex is just one of the 70,000 active heroin users currently
31:24
living in Philadelphia.
31:27
This ain't no life for nobody, I mean.
31:30
This is like the bottom of the barrel right here.
31:33
This ain't for nobody.
31:35
I don't wish this on my worst enemy.
31:41
I generally have to score about six times a day to keep myself well,
31:45
just to be able to function, really.
31:48
It's all it comes down to, just to be able to function.
32:07
I hope that it's fentanyl because I've been doing it for quite
32:11
some time, and heroin that's actually heroin
32:16
will not get me well.
32:19
My body actually craves the fentanyl.
32:23
It's different, it's a different high,
32:26
it's a different feeling and I'm not really sure what the difference is
32:29
between the heroin and the fentanyl.
32:31
I don't know.
32:34
But, it's what my body craves and without it,
32:38
I'll be just as sick as I am now.
32:43
I feel like it's a waste of my life.
32:46
I mean a got a lot of people in my corner who care about me,
32:49
a lot of people in my family that love and care about me,
32:53
and want to see me do well, and I'm not doing nothing
32:57
except sticking a needle in my arm, every day, all day long.
33:05
Waste.
33:06
Waste of time, waste of energy, waste of money.
33:11
It's a fucking waste of everything.
33:21
It's just a waste.
34:02
In need of a place to sleep Alex heads to an abandoned house
34:06
that he and other addicts sometimes use to crash.
34:24
What's going on?
34:26
Not too much.
34:46
It makes me do things that I normally wouldn't do.
34:50
Lie.
34:53
Manipulate.
34:59
I've never been like the person to lie and tell stories,
35:03
and to, you know, try and get over it,
35:07
I was not like that.
35:10
But my addiction has definitely made me that way.
35:15
Makes me feel alone, it makes me feel vulnerable.
35:22
Makes me feel scared.
35:26
Makes me feel unsure of what my purpose here is.
35:50
Manchester Fire And Emergency.
35:52
Request for an ambulance at Manchester.
35:54
It's the Shell gas station, the patient is in the bathroom.
35:57
She has overdosed.
35:58
It's going to be for a female in her 20s.
36:00
My caller states he went into clean,
36:02
found her overdosing in the bathtub, she was not conscious.
36:05
The caller states that she has overdosed,
36:07
the patient's going to be just outside the church on the side.
36:10
Where are the people located?
36:11
She said they're in the middle of the street.
36:13
Two people are overdosing.
36:14
For a male in his 50s found unconscious, not breathing.
36:17
There's a needle next to him.
36:20
35-year-old male. He is not conscious, not breathing.
36:22
Overdose.
36:25
I don't know what to do! Stop talking for a moment.
36:27
I don't know what's happening to this generation,
36:31
you know, I look out my window,
36:32
you know, I'm like looking
36:34
at Ground Zero, for the United States,
36:37
for fentanyl, you know, and fentanyl dust.
36:40
It's like what the heck am I seeing?
36:42
Truck 1811 - response.
36:45
Outside of 340, 340 Hanover Street for a man down, possible overdose.
36:50
SIREN WAILS
36:56
We went from 20 overdoses to 80 overdoses in a matter of a month
36:59
and we were like, "What the hell happened here?"
37:09
Why did it hit us?
37:10
Because of synthetic heroin, it was fentanyl.
37:14
We don't have a heroin problem, we have a fentanyl problem
37:17
and we really realised that back 2015, when we got hit so hard,
37:21
but we've been chasing it ever since, to try and get
37:24
ahead of this and it's really tough to get ahead of something like this.
37:33
I talk to these guys all the time, when I'm down here,
37:36
I'm pretty invested in my personnel and I worry about what they do.
37:40
I go to a lot of the calls that they go on because I just want to see
37:43
how they're, you know, handling things,
37:45
and make sure that...
37:47
I know there's going to be some compassion fatigue, it's really...
37:49
It's really difficult to see this.
37:51
I mean, when I grew up in the Fire Service
37:52
we never saw this much, you know, you know, death.
37:56
He's not unconscious, but you don't really know,
37:58
you know, when he used, you know, what's going to happen.
38:01
They don't want to hit him with Narcan right away,
38:04
because if they do, he's going to be sick.
38:06
Right now they want to get him out as, you know,
38:08
as slowly as possible, so what they're going to probably do,
38:11
is we'll get him in the back of the ambulance, get him to the hospital,
38:14
and get a monitor on him
38:16
and probably give him some Narcan via an IV and so on.
38:19
All right, Dale, we probably should go to the hospital,
38:21
get you checked out there.
38:22
Oh, I don't think I need to go to on the side hospital.
38:25
Well, yeah, you're not...
38:35
All right. Give me your hand there, we'll take you, we're going to walk
38:38
you back here.
38:43
Tell us what happened.
38:45
This gentleman was seen on the sidewalk, unconscious,
38:51
with very limited breathing, and had just done heroin
38:55
as he reported.
38:57
He was actually one of the honest ones where he admitted to doing it.
39:01
Sometimes they come up and they don't admit to doing
39:04
the heroin and, or fentanyl.
39:08
And this time he did and we know we've got to take him
39:11
to the hospital to have him checked out and have him not lay
39:15
down somewhere elsewhere no-one can find him and him passing away.
39:20
You go on calls like that, in this neighbourhood,
39:25
and it's a lot, it's the aftermath of -
39:28
you ask them where the needle is.
39:30
"I threw it in the street."
39:31
OK, well now, where is it? Who plays with it?
39:34
Is it an adult that picks it up and throws it away?
39:37
Or is it a child that plays with it?
39:40
Then it turns into he said he did half fentanyl, half heroin,
39:43
mixed in a bag. So the little baggy that he has, where's that?
39:47
He probably threw it on the ground.
39:49
A kid plays with that, sees it, is it candy, whatever?
39:53
It's that whole, from my personal stand point,
39:56
it's frustrating, because you see it all the time,
39:58
every single day.
40:07
Since this crisis has hit, we go out on these types of calls
40:12
over and over and over again, all day long.
40:17
So 10% of the overdoses that we get called to for an opiate,
40:21
that results in death.
40:28
So how did you make it over here? You just walked over? Yeah.
40:31
Yeah, have you ever overdosed before?
40:33
Doug, can you get up?
40:35
OK.
40:37
You gotta.
40:39
You can't stay here!
40:41
Dude, we were talking and having like a full conversation
40:44
and you just fell asleep like, mid conversation.
40:47
Douglas has obviously overdosed on opiates.
40:51
He admitted to using fentanyl, so, yeah.
40:55
This guy needs help.
40:56
He needs somewhere to go, and you know, and like I told him,
40:59
it's like there's help for him, you know.
41:02
It's, but it's getting to these people, and you know,
41:06
hey, I don't judge you people but you don't know where they came
41:09
from, you don't know what kind of trauma was in their lives,
41:12
so, he needs help more than anything else.
41:14
He's sick. So...
41:18
With no increase in budgets or personnel,
41:21
Manchester Fire Department now spends 70% of their time responding
41:25
to drug-related calls.
41:29
Layla. Layla.
41:31
Layla. Wake up.
41:33
We got here, the police officer came by the park,
41:37
was doing some surveillance.
41:40
Gentleman here saw her passed out,
41:42
called 911, unresponsive, we came here.
41:45
She showed all the symptoms of an overdose.
41:48
Right away we administered Narcan, started breathing for her.
41:53
He's going to give her another Narcan,
41:55
so this will be the second one that we put in,
41:57
She didn't respond to the first one.
41:59
So we're going to put in a second one.
42:01
If this one doesn't work, they'll probably do an IV
42:03
and then put it in that way.
42:06
Narcan is used to block the effects of opioids in an attempt
42:09
to reverse overdoses.
42:14
Now they're going to put the Narcan in by IV,
42:16
because the two nasals got her to come round a little bit
42:19
but not fully, so...
42:21
There we go. Hi, Layla!
42:31
Careful, Layla.
42:35
It's just unfortunate, you know, daytime at a park, you know.
42:39
You know, you think you're going for a walk in the park,
42:42
you know, the next thing is an overdose, so...
42:58
If this crisis right now don't worry you then there's something wrong,
43:02
you're not paying attention to it.
43:07
Every day, people are out on the highway,
43:10
driving down that I-95 quarter, to the source city or source cities
43:15
where these organisations have these drugs readily available.
43:18
It's all day long, it's Monday through Friday,
43:22
and on the weekends and it's night-time, daytime
43:25
and during business hours, the product is always available.
43:29
But look, New Hampshire, as of this morning hasn't
43:32
had a heroin overdose death.
43:36
It's not heroin that's killing our people,
43:38
it's fentanyl, and it's changed the game.
43:41
It's cheap, it's easy to manufacture for these cartels.
43:45
They don't want to worry about opium any more,
43:47
they don't have to worry about the plant, sun,
43:50
water, how they're going to grow these, growing cycles,
43:53
they don't worry about any of that, they can mass-produce this stuff
43:56
in the same labs that they have set up,
43:58
that they've used, you know, when they were making
44:00
methamphetamine or any other drug, and they're able to manufacture
44:04
it faster, and cheaper.
44:07
Working with local law enforcement, the DEA has identified dealers
44:11
operating from a park.
44:13
He's getting into a blue BMW.
44:16
He picked up. He's looking around.
44:19
The blue BMW is leaving.
44:21
So you can see how this works, we're set up in the park,
44:24
we're sort of at a position where we can see
44:26
what's happening, we see customers coming in.
44:29
He's coming to the park.
44:31
They're getting served, they're getting back in the car.
44:39
Our guys are calling it out to the surveillance units,
44:41
the surveillance units are taking them away to a place where,
44:44
whether it's in New Hampshire or Massachusetts,
44:46
we can safely make these traffic stops.
44:48
Straight ahead.
44:50
OK, we have another New Hampshire customer, guys.
44:52
Another New Hampshire customer arriving.
45:01
A vehicle possibly going on 95.
45:11
We're up here in New Hampshire now, we just stopped a car that we saw
45:15
it pick up from that same park, and this woman too had the stuff
45:19
stuffed inside of her body cavity.
45:22
She's pulling it out for the troopers.
45:35
Here's the evidence here that they just removed
45:38
from this female here on this traffic stop.
45:41
Again, fentanyl, driving up into New Hampshire
45:44
to pollute our communities.
45:48
The cartels will never change what they're doing.
45:51
They have found an avenue now with fentanyl,
45:54
where they can make so much money.
45:56
The other thing is we're seeing, and this really frightens me is,
46:00
the dealers are now mixing fentanyl with everything.
46:03
We're seeing an increase of fentanyl mixed with cocaine,
46:06
Fentanyl mixed with methamphetamine, and if you think about it,
46:10
it doesn't even make sense, because really they do
46:13
opposite things in the body and in the brain, but to the dealer
46:17
they almost look at this fentanyl now as a magic dust
46:20
that's just a money maker.
46:21
They think if I just put a little bit of this in there
46:23
I'll be able to spread that product further and make more money.
46:27
So they're trying to figure out how to get that recipe to the right
46:30
point, where they can still addict everybody,
46:33
but have them come back as much as they can,
46:35
and that's really what's happened here.
46:37
They've killed more people than war has.
46:58
I like the person I am today.
47:03
I used to hate myself.
47:08
When we met Steven, I didn't know him previously,
47:12
he didn't want to hear anything about recovery.
47:16
He didn't want nothing to do with the conversation,
47:18
even though he was kind and sweet and respectful.
47:23
I knew he just wanted to get up and go get high that day.
47:27
He had it written all over his face.
47:42
I've seen it.
47:43
I've seen that scene, like, and it disgusts me how I looked.
47:52
Couldn't even keep my eyes open.
47:54
I couldn't form a sentence.
47:56
Slurring, and like, I believe I was very close
48:01
to overdosing that day.
48:04
Runs my life.
48:05
I don't need it but I feel like I do.
48:10
Never could get enough of it.
48:13
And it just...
48:16
It kind of just fed itself, it just took everything from me,
48:21
and I, and I gave it, I gave it everything I had, willingly.
48:29
It kinda took control.
48:32
I'm not the same person, you know what I mean?
48:35
I'm not that person.
48:38
I believe drugs, heroin especially, completely changes who you are.
48:44
It will make you do things that you never thought you'd do.
48:49
Make you into somebody that you're not, you know.
48:56
Steve had hit rock-bottom and just accepted an offer
48:59
from Jodi to leave Pennsylvania for the first time in his life,
49:03
and fly to Florida for treatment.
49:05
Hi, Jodi.
49:06
Hi, Steven, how are you, dear?
49:09
How you doing? I'm good.
49:10
I'm so glad you made it. How was your trip?
49:14
Good?
49:17
OK. Feeling OK? Yeah, sure.
49:26
I wasn't...
49:28
But I know it's not too late, that can still make it right.
49:35
What I told them.
49:37
After three months in rehab, Steve left Florida clean
49:40
and in search of a new life.
49:41
One without the temptations of America's opioid crisis.
49:48
Steve and I have kept in touch here and there,
49:50
throughout the course of the last two years.
49:52
I know that he's still clean and sober, I know that he's living
49:57
in Kentucky, you know, I haven't spoken to him
50:01
on the phone.
50:02
SHE KNOCKS ON DOOR
50:04
We just text every couple of months.
50:11
Oh, my God!
50:14
Hi. Oh, how did I know he had some tricks up his sleeve.
50:18
Hello. Oh, hi, how are you doing?
50:21
I'm good. How are you? I'm good!
50:24
Oh, my God, look how healthy you look, boy!
50:27
You look amazing. Yeah?
50:28
Uh-huh. I'm glad to see you.
50:30
I'm glad to see you.
50:31
Oh, that's awesome, that's such a surprise.
50:34
Come check out the house. All right. Sounds great.
50:41
So you left Florida, went back to Pittsburgh,
50:44
the Pittsburgh area. Yeah.
50:45
And wasn't going to work or...
50:48
I had an opportunity to move here, and I kind of jumped on it,
50:51
you know what I mean, for the first time in my life
50:54
I was able to just pick up and move.
50:56
Before, I was so afraid to leave.
50:59
You were afraid to leave what, afraid to leave?
51:01
I was afraid to leave the area I was in because I didn't know
51:03
where to get the next one,
51:04
cos I wouldn't know where to get it if I left. Right, it was the...
51:08
Right, so the drugs kept you captive in so many different ways.
51:11
Yeah, yeah, it kept me there, in the same area.
51:14
Now, I had the freedom that I didn't have to stay
51:15
around the area, because I didn't know
51:17
where I was going to get the next one.
51:19
Does it exist here?
51:20
Like, it technically exists everywhere?
51:23
It exists. It's everywhere.
51:24
Right, so, I mean, it's happening here?
51:28
It definitely is here, I've seen it a little bit.
51:31
I know an addict when I see one.
51:33
It's definitely here.
51:34
You have to go looking for it. If I wanted to find it.
51:36
It doesn't come knocking at your door or drop you off
51:39
like a pizza, right. Yeah, like back home, it was right in your face...
51:43
Sure. ..and it came and found you.
51:54
I really like it here.
51:55
It's really nice. I feel better than I've ever felt.
51:58
I don't remember a time where I felt this good about myself.
52:05
Two years ago, I couldn't even dream that I could be here,
52:10
doing what I'm doing, and as happy as I am.
52:18
If there's one individual - Steven - who I know that we had a hand
52:24
in saving his life, it's worth it.
52:27
Nobody's life's better than someone else.
52:30
We all deserve a chance.
52:33
At success.
52:35
And to live. Just some of us have lost our way.
52:42
It's not a poor people thing any more, it's not an inner city
52:46
ghetto drug any more, it's everywhere and it's killing
52:51
people left and right, every single day.
52:56
Something's got to be done.
52:58
It's got to change.
53:01
What's it going to take? You know what I mean?
53:03
Someone can see the power like that, losing their child too it.
53:07
Before they open their eyes to it?
53:10
Like, something's got to give now, or there, eventually, there's
53:15
going to be no coming back from it.
53:17
I just hope we haven't reached that point already.
53:30
My story doesn't end here.
53:41
This isn't the last time anyone's going to see me.
53:47
Just I... I'm not going to die from this.
53:50
Like, I'm not. Not going to die from this.
53:58
I want my daughter to be proud of me, and I want my...
54:01
I want people to be proud of me.
54:04
You know, I want to be proud of myself.
54:17
If I was your mother right know, what would you want to say to her?
54:21
Oh, mom, I'm sorry.
54:44
I know, I mean, I can't tell her,
54:48
"Hey, wait, couple more years I'll get better," I can't tell her that,
54:53
I don't know.
54:56
That's what sucks about this.
54:59
Tomorrow's not a promise.
55:02
For her or for me.
55:13
Oh, my greatest hope is that I can beat the addiction.
55:17
That I can just go back to being Alex,
55:20
that I can be a good son, good brother, good father,
55:25
that's like my greatest hope.
55:27
That I can beat this, walk away from it,
55:31
and just not look back.
55:36
We lost contact with Alex, so went back to search for him.
55:42
But he was nowhere to be found.
55:50
# Gave proof through the night
55:59
# That our flag was still there
56:08
# O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
56:28
# O'er the land of the free
56:41
# And the home of the...
56:56
# ..brave? #

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