“DOPESICK NATION”

Our friends at Viceland take us deep into our “Dopesick Nation” with two recovering addicts who are now trying to save one addict at a time.

Aired on September 12, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

DOPE SICK NATION SAN INVESTIGATIVE DOCU SERIES FROM VICE LAND.

IT GIVES AN INTIMATE LOOK AT THE HEART BREAKING REALITIES OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN AMERICA.

SET IN SOUTH FLORIDA, THE SERIES FOLLOWS FRANKY AND ALI BOTH RECOVERING ADDICTS AS THEY ATTEMPT TO SAVE AS MANY PEOPLE FROM ADDICTION AS POSSIBLE.

BUT THEY DON'T JUST HELP EVERYONE.

THEY ACT AS A SUPPORT SYSTEM TO THOSE WHO HAVE HIT ROCK BOTTOM AND TRULY WANT HELP GETTING INTO TREATMENT PROGRAMS, BUT HAVE NO WAY OF ACCESSING IT DUE TO LACK OF HEALTH INSURANCE OR FUNDS.

HERE'S A CLIP.

PLEASE, GOD, HELP US HELP THESE KIDS AND NOT DIE TODAY.

ADDICTS IN SOUTH FLORIDA, IT'S BRIMMING WITH TREATMENT CENTERS ON EVERY CORNER.

THEY SAY DEL REY IS THE RECOVERY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

PEOPLE COME FROM BOSTON AND OHIO.

ON ONE SIDE THERE'S PEOPLE IN THEIR HAWAIIAN SHIRTS ON VACATION HAVING THE TIME OF THEIR LIFE.

AND THEN RIGHT BEHIND THEM ARE PEOPLE SELLING HEROINE AND KIDS WALKING AROUND LOOKING FOR HEROIN.

> BACK IN 2005, PRESCRIPTION PILLS ARE EASILY FOUND.

THE PAIN PILL UP DIM I CAN WAS [ BLEEP ] THE FED STARTED SHUTTING FACILITIES DOWN.

PRESCRIPTION PILLS AREN'T AS EASY TO GET TODAY SO PEOPLE ARE USING HEROIN.

ALL OF A SUDDEN HEROIN COMES THROUGH HERE LIKE NEVER BENCHMARK, BOOM, [ BLEEP ] DOPE EVERYWHERE.

[ BLEEP ] SO POWERFUL.

IT IS [ BLEEP ] SATAN ITSELF.

PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT ADDICTION IS ACTUALLY A DISEASE.

ONCE THAT BEAST IS UNLEASHED, MAN, IT'S NO LONGER A CHOICE, IT'S AN OBSESSION.

WHEN OBAMACARE PASSED AND REQUIRED INSURANCE COMPANIES TO TREAT ADDICTION AS A DISEASE, YOU COULD GO TO TREATMENT AS MANY TIMES AS IT TOOK YOU TO GET SOBER.

THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY CAME IN.

SO MANY PEOPLE THAT CAME HERE FROM JERSEY, BOSTON, OHIO THINK THEY'RE COMING DOWN HERE AS A PERSON TRYING TO GET THEIR LIFE TOGETHER.

I KNOW.

SOME OF THE PLACES THEY'RE GOING TO, THEY'RE NOT A PERSON AT ALL.

THEY'RE A POLICY NUMBER.

A LOT OF TREATMENT CENTER OWNERS ARE PREDATORY IN NATURE.

KENNY CHATMAN WAS AN OWNER OF A TREATMENT FACILITY CALLED REFLECTIONS.

HE HAD GIRLS TIED TO BEDS WHERE THEY COULDN'T GET OUT, WITH A LINE OF MEN OUT THE DOOR, RAPING HER REPEATEDLY, OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

THIS GUY STAYED IN BUSINESS FOR YEARS.

MY PASSION IS HELPING PEOPLE THAT WERE ONCE LIKE MYSELF THAT HAD NO RESOURCES, THAT HAD NO OPTIONS THAT DIDN'T HAVE INSURANCE, THAT DIDN'T HAVE MONEY.

THEY'RE TIRED OF BEING A SLAVE TO THIS GAME.

FENTANYL DOES KILL, BUT FOR SOME REASON IT DOESN'T KILL ME.

I LOST WAY TOO MANY FRIENDS.

IT'S NEVER BEEN THIS BAD BEFORE.

I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO SUGAR COAT IT.

YOU'RE GOING TO [ BLEEP ] DIE.

ROBBERIES, MURDERS, OVERDOSES, HOMELESSNESS, PROSTITUTION, [ BLEEP ] THEY WON'T PUT ON THE NEWS BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO DROP THEIR PROPERTY VALUE.

PEOPLE I TRY TO HELP DAILY ARE THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE.

WE'RE FIGHTING AN UPHILL BATTLE HERE.

HERE TO TELL US MORE IS HOST AND PRODUCER ALI SEVERINO.

ALI, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, JENNA.

THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY INTIMATE LOOK AT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN AMERICA.

YOU START OFF TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT KIDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COME TO SOUTH FLORIDA ASSUMING THAT THEY'RE GOING TO GET HELP, AND WHEN THEY GET INTO THESE TREATMENT CENTERS, THEY'RE NOT NECESSARILY A PATIENT, THEY'RE A POLICY NUMBER.

BUT I WANTED YOU TO TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR OWN JOURNEY, BECAUSE YOU AND FRANKY ARE VERY OPEN AND HONEST ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE WALKED THIS PATH AND THAT'S WHAT HELPS YOU REACH OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE.

IT DEFINITELY HELPS.

I DON'T THINK I WOULD BE ABLE TO WORK IN THIS I7NDUSTRY IF IT WASN'T FOR MY PAST.

I WENT TO AGELY A STATE-FUNDED TREATMENT CENTER TEN YEARS AGO HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA, DEL REY BEACH.

I GOT SOBER THROUGH THAT PROGRAM.

BUT IT WAS A LONG-TERM PROGRAM.

IT WAS JUST BARE BONES AND EVERYONE THERE KIND OF -- WE ALL HAD PRISON SENTENCES OVER OUR HEADS AND IT WAS EITHER DO RIGHT OR GO TO PRISON, YOU KNOW.

A LOT OF US DID RIGHT.

WHEN I WENT THROUGH TREATMENT, I HAD NO IDEA THERE WERE SOBER HOMES TO GO TO AFTERWARDS.

WHEN I GOT OUT OF MY SIX-MONTH STAY AT THE DRUG ABUSE FOUNDATION, I HAD NO IDEA, AND I SLEPT ON A FRIEND'S COUCH FOR A YEAR.

IF I WAS 18 YEARS OLD, I FINALLY GOT A SMALL STUDIO AND A JOB, A CAR, ALL THAT STUFF.

THROUGHOUT THE DOCUMENTARY, WE SEE YOU AND FRANKY BOTH REACHING OUT AND WORKING WITH PEOPLE IN INCREDIBLY INTIMATE WAY.

I'M WONDERING, IS THAT TYPICAL FOR THE WORK THAT YOU'RE DOING NOW, IT'S NOT JUST FACILITATING GETTING PEOPLE INTO TREATMENT CENTERS, BUT ACTUALLY BECOMING PART OF THEIR LIVES TO GET THEIR TRUST TO GET THEM TO TRUST THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HELP THEM?

TOTALLY.

RARELY DO I HAVE A PERSON CALL ME.

I'M LIKE, OKAY, GREAT, GO HERE.

YOU BECOME THEIR EMERGENCY CONTACT.

THEY'VE LOST A LOT OF THEIR FAMILY, A LOT OF THEIR LOVED ONES.

I MEAN, THEY'RE REALLY ALONE, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY GET TO THAT LOW OF A POINT IN THEIR LIFE.

THEY DON'T HAVE MANY PEOPLE LEFT THAT EVEN CARE FOR THEM.

WELL, SPEAKING OF AND AS WE ALLUDED IN THE INTRO, YOU WORK WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE THE HEALTH INSURANCE OR THE FUNDING TO GET INTO A REHABILITATION CENTER.

SO I WANT YOU TO TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT IS SCHOLARSHIP THAT YOU WORK TO GET FOR PEOPLE AND HOW DUDS THAT THEN WORK?

SO, SCHOLARSHIP IS TREATMENT.

SO THROUGHOUT THE SHOW I GOT 26 SCHOLARSHIPS, WHICH IS AWESOME, YOU KNOW.

AND BASICALLY IT IS FREE ASK CLEAR TREATMENT.

YOU COME IN, YOU GET DETOXED, MEDICALLY DETOXED, YOU GO THROUGH 30 DAYS TREATMENT AND YOU HAVE YOUR AFTER CARE ALL PAID FOR.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, EITHER THERE'S TOO MANY RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE, RIGHT, THE PRIVATE INSURANCE CLIENTS, THEY HAVE SO MANY RESOURCES IT'S CRAZY.

BUT WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING, THERE'S ALMOST NOTHING AVAILABLE.

AND I'M WONDERING WHAT IT IS YOU WOULD WANT PEOPLE SEEING THIS TO TAKE AWAY FROM AT LEAST THE EXPERIENCES THAT THEY SEE YOU HAVING WITH THE ADDICTS YOU'RE WORKING WITH.

I MEAN, JUST BE COMPASSIONATE.

BE COMPASSIONATE TO YOUR NEIGHBORS.

BE COMPASSIONATE TO OTHERS.

THIS EPIDEMIC HITS EVERYBODY.

THROUGH THE SERIES YOU'RE GOING TO SEE BASEBALL PLAYERS, EVERY WALK OF LIFE THAT'S CRIPPLED BY THIS.

AND, YOU KNOW, IT STARTS WITH PAINKILLERS.

THAT'S WHERE IT STARTS, YOU KNOW.

YOU'RE NOT SAFE.

EVERYBODY WANTS TO ESCAPE REALITY A LITTLE BIT AND I UNDERSTAND THAT BETTER THAN ANYONE.

BUT, YOU KNOW, IT DOESN'T -- SOME PEOPLE WHEN THEY DRINK OR WHEN THEY DO DRULGS, THEIR BRAI IS GOING TO REACT DIFFERENTLY.

AND ADDICTION MIGHT TAKE OVER THEIR LIFE.

THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE CAN TAKE AWAY.

YOU KNOW, THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT SPECIAL.

THEY DIDN'T CHOOSE THIS LIFE.

A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THEY CHOSE IT, LET THEM DIE.

I SEE THAT ALL THE TIME AND IT'S REALLY SAD.

THAT'S THE KIND OF COMPASSION WE HAVE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS, YOU KNOW.

WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT EDUCATION, AND WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

I'M WORKING ON THE DEMAND SIDE.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, LISTEN, ALLIE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

THE PREMIERE OF DOPE SICK NATION IS WEDNESDAY.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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