Thanks to the coronavirus, it gets less local, regional, and national coverage, but opioid addiction is still a major problem for Appalachia. National media, for the most part, have switched their focus to the virus but there is still some good reporting being done. CNN, for example, partnering with 100 Days in Appalachia, recently put together:
The pandemic is triggering opioid relapses across Appalachia
The article is an in-depth look at how the virus has made recovery more difficult:
Dr. Michael Genovese, Acadia's chief medical officer, says the coronavirus pandemic "is making an already difficult situation even worse" for his patients. . . .
In what he described as a "pandemic's-worth of triggers going on right now," Genovese believes an overabundance of unstructured time, not being able to attend recovery meetings in person and feelings of anxiety caused by Covid-19 are among the many changes that can disrupt someone's recovery.
The article explores how various social agencies are dealing with the complications caused by the coronavirus.
Collision Of Crises: How Covid-19 Will Propel Drug Overdose From Bad To Worse
And U.S. News:
In Coal Country, Pandemic Poses a Dual Threat
Eric Eyre’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the dumping of Opioids in West Virginia is now in book form
Eyre and the Charleston Gazette-Mail won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for his reporting on the opioid crisis. As the Washington Post’s review of his book begins:
“How did it happen?” asks Eric Eyre, a statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “How did 780 million painkillers spew into West Virginia and nobody said a word? How did millions of pills get dumped in small towns?”
Eyre’s book is titled:
Death in Mudlick
With a subtitle:
A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic
You can read the Washington Post’s review here. For me, Eyre’s award-winning reporting demonstrates that you do not have to work for a big-name metropolitan newspaper to win a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. I am anxious to read the book.
"Pillbillies": At the height of Appalachia’s drug crisis, one of those drug distributors of opioids shared its disdain for Appalachians in an email
Sunday’s Washington Post featured an article about an AmerisourceBergen email:
Drug distributor employees emailed a parody song about ‘pillbillies,’ documents show
The article begins:
As the opioid epidemic raged in 2011, employees of drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp., shared an email: a parody of the theme song for “The Beverly Hillbillies,” describing how “pillbillies” drove south to obtain drugs at Florida pill mills.
“Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed/ A poor mountaineer, barely kept his habit fed,” the song begins, chronicling how Jed goes to Florida, which is described as having a “lax attitude” about pills, or “Hillbilly Heroin.”
The “song” also included:
“Sunny Florida is the place you ought to be/ So they loaded up the truck and drove speedily,” the lyrics read. “South, that is. Pain Clinics, cash ‘n carry. A Bevy of Pillbillies!” the email said.
. . . . “Well now its time to say Howdy to Jed and all his kin. And they would like to thank Rick Scott fer kindly inviting them,” the lyrics continue. “They’re all invited back again to this locality/ To have a heapin helpin of Florida hospitality/ Pill Mills that is. Buy some pills. Take a load home. Y’all come back now, y’hear?”