Extraordinary Tales –
MAY 24, 2019 – That was the moment when the opioid epidemic became personal for me. I could talk about how opioid addiction is a hot-button political issue, and how as a resident of Pennsylvania the experiences of the opioid addicts I’ve met provide valuable insight into our American moment. All of these things are true, but there is a deeper reason why I followed this story. I need to understand this problem in a personal way.
George wasn’t in that raggedy hotel room to help me understand it, though. Instead I was talking to three people — “Nikki,” a strikingly pretty brunette who has made the local news several times due to various drug-related offenses; Jade, whose eyes always seemed to be quietly sobbing even as the rest of her face remains stoical; and Matt, the only thirty-something present besides myself, whose sharp-tongued intellectual demeanor contrasted starkly with the bleak surroundings. I asked them how they became opioid addicts, hoping to find parallels in their stories. There were none — each developed their dependency for frustratingly different reasons.