America’s opioid epidemic is an addiction crisis like no other the country has ever faced. Deaths outnumber car crash fatalities.
Since 1999, 200,000 people have died from overdoses related to Oxycontin and other prescription painkillers.
The scourge is the result of a terrible double whammy: The relentless marketing of pain pills and the ruthless efficiency of drug pushers from one small Mexican town, who deliver heroin like takeout pizza.
Our guest, Sam Quinones, author of the highly praised book "Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic," is our guide to this complex tragedy. We look at the roots of the epidemic and possible solutions.
From innovative treatment programs in Kentucky jails to drug courts in Buffalo, New York that offer help for addicts, but also demand accountability, there are ways to reduce the immense pain, suffering and damage.
"This issue allows us to come together as Americans," says Sam. "Every addict cannot go it alone. They need to be surrounded by services and people who can offer help."
"We've destroyed community in this country in a million different ways and heroin is what you get when you do that."