World in Progress: Inside the US Opioid Crisis | North America | DW | 20.10.2021

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North America

World in Progress: Inside the US Opioid Crisis

Huntigton in West Virgina holds the sad record of most deaths from opioids in the USA. The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the opioid crisis, and the number of those dying from overdoses has increased dramatically. Find out how people in town cope with the ongoing crisis.

Listen to audio 29:59

More than half a million people have died from opioids in the past two decades in the USA. 
What started with doctors prescribing legal painkillers – such as Oxycontin - has now spiraled into much more dangerous substances. Hardly anyone knows what's in them anymore. It's had an impact on almost everyone from doctors to policemen and women to factory workers.

 
One town that's been especially hard hit is Huntington in West Virginia. It's estimated that about 10 percent of the people living there are addicted to opioids. Everyone in town is affected in some way, and there's a lot of support for addicts. But many have lost hope that things will improve. 
 
Report: Julia Kastein