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Charlotte Talks: Addiction, Recovery, And The Human Toll Of The Opioid Epidemic


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

We hear about the human toll of the opioid epidemic from those who have lived through it: those who have struggled with addiction and those who have lost loved ones to it.

We are in the throes of the deadliest drug crisis in our nation's history. Ninety-one Americans die every day from prescription opioid and heroin overdoses according to the CDC. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths has quadrupled and continues to rise. But this crisis is more than just numbers, it affects individuals, family, friends and neighbors - chances are it has touched someone you know.

We have talked a lot about this crisis with policy experts, politicians, medical and law enforcement professionals, but what about the people who are directly affected?

Mike Collins talks with people who have struggled with addiction themselves, and those who have lost loved ones to the opioid epidemic. We'll try to understand the hold addiction has, hear about the personal toll it takes, and attempt to put a face on this deadly crisis.


Dr. Stephen Wyatt - medical director of addiction medicine at Carolinas HealthCare System

Sandy Tabor-Gray - Mooresville resident, she overcame drug addiction as a teen. After struggling for years with addiction, her son Michael died from a heroin overdose in 2013 at age 22. She now works to reduce prescription medication misuse among youth and bringing awareness to opioid use.

Jay Wolff - Mooresville resident, recovering from opioid and heroin addiction.

Related content:

WRAL-TV produced a one-hour documentary 'Searching for a Fix' that details North Carolina's addiction epidemic. It tells Sandy Tabor-Gray's story and many others. Watch it here.

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.