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Why America remains hooked on opioids


Well before the coronavirus pandemic devastated the United States, a different plague scourged the nation.

In 2018, drug overdoses were the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. In 2019, over 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and more than 10 million “misused” prescription opioids, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

And since the coronavirus pandemic began, opioid overdoses have only gotten worse – 93,000 people died last year, an increase of 30% since 2019.

A key difference between the two public health disasters, though, is that the opioid epidemic was caused, in part, because of pharmaceutical companies aggressively marketing addictive drugs.

We sit down with journalist Beth Macy, who investigated the roots of the opioid epidemic and how it continues to ravage communities throughout the country.

Macy will discuss her book, "Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America," and we also speak with a Charlotte born-and-raised actor featured in the new Hulu series of the same name.


Beth Macy, journalist and author of "Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America"

John Hoogenakker, actor featured in new Hulu series, "Dopesick"

Are you a WFAE member? Join WFAE, in partnership with Hulu, for an exclusive screening of Episode 1 of Hulu's newest miniseries, DOPESICK ahead of its premiere. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wfae-member-exclusive-screening-of-hulus-dopesick-miniseries-tickets-182727351427

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.