Opioid Crisis

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Creation Date January 29th, 2020
Updated Date Updated November 27th, 2020
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  1. In light of all the recent news about opioids, we're sharing this episode from last year, all about how the opioid epidemic started and how regulators allowed Purdue Pharma to label OxyContin as low-risk in the first place.
  2. Thirty years ago, President George H.W. Bush held up a baggie of crack on live TV, and said it had been seized right in front of the White House. The Uncertain Hour’s third season looks at how the policies launched that day continue to reverberate – even as the crack epidemic has faded into history. New episodes start March 21.
  3. It was the perfect political prop: drugs seized by government agents right across the street from the White House, just in time for a big presidential address. The reality was more complicated.
  4. One day, early in the semester, Keith Jackson didn’t show up to class. He’d been arrested for selling crack, but for his classmates, that wasn’t the surprising part.
  5. The drug bust and the trial were a “farce,” but the full force of the law still came down on Keith Jackson — and thousands of people like him. That didn’t end the crack epidemic, so what did?
  6. It’s the deadliest drug epidemic our country has ever faced. We go to ground zero, where “nothing changes except for the drug.”
  7. It’s not easy being an undercover cop in a county of just 40,000 people. But drugs were making it hard for Bucky Culbertson to run his business, so he made it his business to get rid of drugs.
  8. Many people in Wise County agree that they can’t jail their way out of a drug epidemic, but there’s a lot less agreement on what to do instead. And we find out what happened to Joey Ballard.
  9. On this day, 30 years ago, President George H.W. Bush gave his first address from the Oval Office. Bush held up a baggie of crack he said had been seized just outside the White House. Today, we’re revisiting our episode about that speech, the events that led up to it and the lives it affected. For more on America’s drug war, listen to season 3 of our show.
  10. We just found the answer to a really big question that’s been bugging us for years, about why the opioid crisis has hit some places so hard while other places have been relatively protected. The answer comes in the form of new academic research, that builds upon our reporting. Specifically, a secret internal marketing document from Purdue Pharma that senior producer Caitlin Esch discovered in the bowels of a county court house. She’s on this bonus episode to talk about it.
  11. How pharma greed, government subsidies, and a push to make pain the “fifth vital sign” kicked off a crisis that costs $80 billion a year and has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
  12. One prescription drug is keeping some addicts from dying. So why isn’t it more widespread? A story of regulation, stigma, and the potentially fatal faith in abstinence.

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