TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

On Thursday, New York Democrats will pick their nominees for state office. Can actress Cynthia Nixon unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo and become the next gubernatorial candidate? Plus, the nine other races that could shake up our state. 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. The musical that became an internet sensation is headed to Broadway. We have the buzz about “Be More Chill.”

Aired on September 12, 2018.

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS', PRIMARY COLORS. ON THURSDAY, NEW YORKERS WILL PICK THEIR NOMINEES FOR STATE OFFICE.

THE MAIN EVENT: ACTRESS CYNTHIA NIXON'S CHALLEGE TO GOV ANDREW CUOMO. CAN SHE COME OUT AHEAD DESPITE THE BAGEL CONVTROVERSEY?

AND HOW MUCH WILL CUOMO'S CONNECTIONS WITH FORMER AIDS TURNED CONVICTED FELONS HURT HIM?

WE'LL LOOK AT THAT AND NINE OTHER RACE THAT'S COULD SHAKE UP THE STATE OF THE STATE.

> A FRIEND IN VICE LAND TV TAKES US DEEP INTO THE DOPE NATION TO TWO RECOVERING ADDICTS TRYING TO SAVE VICTIMS OF OPIOIDS ONE AT A TIME.

> THE MUSIC SENSATION HEADED TO BROADWAY.

THE LATEST BUZZ ABOUT B MORE CHILL.

THIS AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS NOW.

♪ ♪ ♪

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAPHAEL P. RAMON, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE & G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

NEW YORK VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS TOMORROW TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS IN THE STATE PRIMARIES.

FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THIS PRIMARY PITS A NUMBER OF WELL FUNDED ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATES AGAINST A HOST OF PROGRESSIVE CHALLENGERS SEEKING TO PUSH THE PARTY FURTHER TO THE LEFT.

FROM THE GOOD TO BE NA FORRIAL CLASH BETWEEN ANDREW CUOMO TO CYNTHIA NIXON TO THE WIDE OPEN ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE.

AND THE CONTEST FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IN THE SENATE.

THIS IS SHAPE UPPING TO BE A BATTLE FOR THE IDENTITY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

SO JOINING US NOW WITH A PRIMER OF WHAT'S AT STAKE, BEN MACK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GOTHAM GAZETTE, AND REPORTER FOR THE W NYC.

GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

HI, JENNA.

LET'S START OFF WITH THE BIG RACE EVERYBODY HAS BEEN WATCHING AND TALKING ABOUT THE MOST, THE GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY.

FIRST OFF, HOW MUCH DOES BAGEL GATEWAY WEIGH INTO THIS?

IT'S NOT SWAYING TOO MUCH VOTERS.

HOWEVER IT'S GIVEN HER CHANCE TO GET MORE MEDIA BUZZ GOING INTO THE FINAL DAYS OF THE PRIMARY.

AT THE SAME TIME WE'VE SEEN GOVERNOR CUOMO MAKE A NUMBER OF MISTAKES, HAVE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING HIM, A MAILER FROM THE STATE PARTY GOING TO THE ORTHODOX JEWISH COMMUNITY.

WE KNOW KNOW HOW MUCH THE CUOMO CAMPAIGN HAD TO DO WITH IT.

NIXON HAD A FEW THINGS WORKING TO HER ADVANTAGE THE LAST FEW DAYS.

OF COURSE WE SEE GOVERNOR CUOMO INCREDIBLY HIGH IN THE POLLS.

IT LOOKS LIKE HE'S CRUSHING CYNTHIA NIXON.

FRED, HOW DO YOU SEE THE TURNOUT FOR PERHAPS HER BASE?

IT'S A THURSDAY.

EVERYONE FROM LIKE THE TIME YOU'RE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, YOU LEARN THAT VOTING HAPPENS ON TUESDAYS WHETHER IT'S IN NOVEMBER OR ELSEWHERE.

ALMOST LIKE THE HOLY DAY OF THE WEEK FOR VOTING.

YET HERE WE ARE VOTING ON A THURSDAY.

SO WE EXPECT THAT TO BE -- TO DEPRESS VOTING A LITTLE BIT.

WE EXPECT THE WEATHER TO BE OFF.

THAT COULD DEPRESS VOTING A LITTLE BIT.

ON THE OTHER HAND THERE IS A LOT OF ENERGY PARTICULARLY IN THE LEFT WING OF THE PARTY.

PEOPLE ARE ANGRY ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP.

PEOPLE ARE FIRED UP ON THE LEFT W WING.

THERE WAS THIS BIG TRIUMPH OF SUCCESS ALEXANDRA CORTEZ HAD.

I THINK WE'LL SEE A DECENT TURNOUT, A HIGHER TURNOUT THAN WE DID FOUR YEARS AGO.

I THINK ONE THE BIG QUESTION IS HOW MUCH ANGER THERE IS ABOUT ANDREW CUOMO.

THERE ARE A LOT OF ACTIVISTS WHO ARE UNHAPPY WITH THE WAY HE'S GOVERNED BELIEVING HE'S TOO MUCH OF A CENTRIST, HE'S PROPPED UP REPUBLICAN CONTROL IN THE STATE SENATE WHICH HAS ENABLED HIM TO BE A TRIANGULATER FROM THE CLINTON BRANCH OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

WE DON'T REALLY KNOW HOW MUCH THAT'S GOING TO TRANSLATE TO VOTES FOR NIXON.

PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED ABOUT THE SUBWAYS, PEOPLE ARE FRUSTRATED ABOUT A LACK OF VOTING REFORM, CAMPAIGN FINANCE RYE FORM, THINGS OF THAT NATURE.

IT'S HARD TO KNOW HOW MANY VOTES IT WILL TRANSLATE TO.

AND CORRUPTION, GOVERNOR CUOMO'S TOP AIDES, JOE PROCOCO WAS INDICT AND HAD CONVICTED.

I'M SURPRISED HOW LITTLE THAT STUCK IN A WAY, HOW LITTLE TRACTION CENT IYNTHIA NIXON HAS ABLE TO GET OUT OF THAT.

HOW MANY VOTERS ARE INFURIATED.

MANY ARE, PRIMARY VOTERS ARE A SPECIAL BREED.

THEY'RE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW POLITICS AND THEY'RE MOTIVATED TO SHOW UP.

OF COURSE, THEN AGAIN WE'LL SEE IF ANYBODY CAN GET NEW VOTERS, NONVOTERS INTO NEW VOTERS AS OCASIO SAID.

YOU MENTIONED CORRUPTION.

THAT DOES TURN MY ATTENTION TO THE OTHER BIG RACE WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF MONEY PUT BO AND THAT THE THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL PRIMARY.

IT'S WIDE OPEN.

FOUR CANDIDATES, ALICIA IS ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN.

LETITIA JAMES, PATRICK MALONEY, IT COULD BE ANYBODY'S PRIMARY.

WE DON'T KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING TO GO.

IF YOU WANT TO BELIEVE THE POLLING, THEY'RE ALL PRETTY CLOSE SO WHAT'S IT GOING TO COME DOWN TO?

AGAIN, CAN TISH JAMES GET THE TURNOUT SHE NEEDS IN NEW YORK CITY?

ARE THEY SPLITTING THE HUDSON VALLEY UPSTATE BASE?

AND -- A LOT OF BOOST, THE EDITORIAL BOARD, BERNIE SANDERS.

DOES THAT HELP HER WITH THE ACTIVIST BASE SO FIRED UP.

THE THIRD TIME COULD BE THE CHARM FOR HER.

SHE TRIED AGAINST GOVERNOR CUOMO FOUR YEARS AGO AND DID BETTER THAN ANYONE EXPECTED CONSIDERING SHE HAD ZERO NAME RECOGNITION.

ALTHOUGH VERY INTERESTING AND DRAMATIC NAME IN A WAY.

SHE QUICKLY GOT RECOGNITION AFTER A FASHION, BUT SHE GOT A THIRD OF THE VOTE WITH NO MONEY TO SPEAK OF THEN.

SHE RAN A SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN FOR CONGRESS TWO YEARS AGO, BUT, YOU KNOW, INCHED FORWARD A LITTLE BIT.

YOU KNOW, I WOULDN'T HAVE NECESSARILY PREDICTED HER TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE AND WIN AT THIS TIME, BUT SHE HAS PICKED UP SOME MOMENTUM AND THOSE ENDORSEMENTS I THINK REALLY SPEAK TO A LOT OF SKEPTICISM ABOUT TISH JAMES WHO MANY PEOPLE CONSIDER THE EARLY FAVORITE, YOU KNOW.

SHE IS A WOMAN THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DO RESPECT.

SHE'S PAID A LOT OF DUES, COME UP THROUGH THE RANKS.

I THINK THERE IS A LOT OF SKEPTICISM TO HER PROXIMITY TO GOVERNOR CUOMO, TO THE DEMOCRATIC MACHINE, THE ESTABLISHMENT, BUT SHE DOES HAVE A LOT OF BACKING FROM THAT MACHINE.

SPEAKING OF BACK BEING FROM THE MACHINE, WE'VE SEEN COMMERCIALS, I BELIEVE THE STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS ATTEMPTING TO PACKAGE CUOMO, HOKUL, AND JAMES AS ONE TICKET EVEN THOUGH THAT'S NOT HOW IT WILL LOOK ON THE BALLOT.

IT ALL DEPENDS WHAT YOU'VE SEEN GOING IN AND HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT PACKAGE THAT THE STATE PARTY IS BACKING AND THAT GOVERNOR CUOMO IS BACKING.

YOU MENTIONED ANOTHER VERY INTERESTING RACE, THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNMENT PRIMARY, IMANI WILLIAMS.

HER NAME RECOGNITION IS NOT THAT HIGH.

CERTAINLY BECAUSE HE'S REPRESENTED A NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT AND BEEN ACTIVE IN NEW YORK CITY FOR A LONG TIME, COULD DRAW A LOT OF VOTES FROM THOSE ACT ACTI ACTIVISTS

THERE ARE ESTABLISHED CANDIDATES.

THAT COULD SHAKE UP THE MAKEUP.

INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE, THE IDC, EIGHT CHALLENGERS TO EIGHT INCUMBENTS, SIX IN NEW YORK CITY.

THOSE ARE RACES TO WATCH CERTAINLY WITH VARYING DEGREES OF PROBABILITY FOR THOSE CHALLENGERS TO PULL THOSE OFF.

THERE ARE A FEW OTHER CHALLENGES TO INCUMBENTS THAT ARE WORTH WATCHING THAT HAVE GOTTEN MEDIA ATTENTION.

THE KEY HERE IS IF SOME OF THESE IDC CHALLENGERS WIN, THAT ACTUALLY WILL ADD FODDER TO THE REPUBLICANS CAMPAIGNING EFFORTS IN LONG ISLAND AND UPSTATE DISTRICTS WHEN THEY'RE TRYING TO KEEP CONTROL OF THE SENATE IN NOVEMBER.

SO THAT'S SORT OF AN INTERESTING FAULT LINE TO WATCH COMING OUT OF PRIMARY DAY.

RIGHT.

LONG ISLAND THEY'LL SAY LOOK HOW FAR LEFT THE SENATE IS GOING.

BUT IT'S ALREADY A BIG TALKING POINT AND THEY WOULD SAY EVEN MORE SO.

DO YOU WANT TO HAND ALL OF THE REINS OF GOVERNMENT TO THE DEMOCRATS?

THE LEFT INCREASE OF DEMOCRATS.

YOU HAVE THE GOVERNOR AND BOTH THE ASSEMBLY AND THE SENATE.

THAT WILL BE SOMETHING THEY WILL BE RUNNING AGAINST.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING.

I THINK -- AND IT'S SAFE TO SAY SOME OF THE STALWARTS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, AT LEAST THE RECENT STALWARTS ARE GOING TO FALL TO SOME OF THE IDC CHALLENGERS.

WE'LL SEE WHICH ONES.

ARE THERE ANY RACES WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE, OH, MY GOD, THAT PERSON, ONE MOMENT?

I THINK THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, JAMANI WILLIAMS WOULD BE SURPRISED, PEOPLE IN THE POLITICAL WORLD WOULD BE AS WELL.

THE OTHER I WOULD NAME, THE JEFF KLEIN WHO REPRESENTS BRONX AND WESTCHESTER DISTRICT.

ALESSANDRA IS CHALLENGING HIM.

SHE SEEMS TO BE RUNNING A STRONG CAMPAIGN.

SHE HAS NAME RECOGNITION IN THE AREA.

HER GRANDFATHER USED TO REPRESENT IN CONGRESS.

THAT WOULD CERTAINLY BE A SEISMIC UPSET IF THAT ONE HAPPENED.

WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME HERE BUT I DO WANT TO ASK, YOU'VE SPOELK ENSO MUCH ABOUT ALL THINGS DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WE -- ANY UPSETS WE MIGHT EXPECT TO SEE FROM THE REPUBLICANS?

BECAUSE THIS IS ALSO THEIR PRIMARY DAY AS WELL.

SO, THAT'S ONE THING INTERESTING.

THE REPUBLICANS TOTALLY AVOIDED PRIMARIES IN THE STATEWIDE RACES.

THEY DECIDED ON THE TICKET TO GET OTHER PEOPLE OUT OF THE RACES SO THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO SPEND MONEY AND ENERGY FIGHTING THEIR PRIMARIES BECAUSE THEY HAVE A MASSIVE ENROLLMENT DISADVANTAGE FOR THE GENERAL.

SO STATEWIDE PRIMARIES ARE OFF THE TABLE FOR REPUBLICANS.

YEAH I I MEAN I THINK FRIDAY MORNING WE'LL CATCH OUR BREATH OF THE I THINK THERE WILL BE A LOT OF COMPETITION BETWEEN NOW AND NOVEMBER FOR BOTH THE STATEWIDE RACE -- SOME OF THE STATEWIDE RACES AND IN THE STATE SENATE IN PARTICULAR.

I MEAN, OVERALL, WE THINK OF THIS AS -- IT'S A MIDTERM.

THE MOMENTUM WILL GENERALLY BE I BUT WHO KNOWS.

I HAVE BEEN POINTING OUT THAT WHEN A PREVIOUS GOVERNOR CUOMO RAN AGAINST AN OBSCURE NO-NAME SENATOR FROM PEEKSKILL NEW YORK THAT NO ONE HEARD OF FOR NOT A THIRD TERM BUT A FOURTH TERM, IT SEEMED LIKE HE HAD IT IN THE BAG UNTIL HE DIDN'T.

SO WE'LL DISCUSS THE MARK MULINARO PROSPECTS DOWN THE ROAD.

BUT I THINK THERE COULD BE A LITTLE MORE COMPETITION THAN PEOPLE ARE EXPECTING.

ALL RIGHT.

FRIDAY MORNING LOOKS LIKE IT WILL BE DEFINITELY INTERESTING FOR THE THREE OF US.

GENTLEMEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH OR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM.

WE'D LOVE TO HAVE YOU BOTH BACK POSTMORTEM ONCE IT HAPPENS.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHT.

ANY TIME.

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.

HI, I'M MATTIE ORTON.

HIGH SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION AND THE SAME CHALLENGES THAT PERENNIALLY FACE TEENAGERS ARE BACK WITH IT.

HOW TO GET GOOD GRADES.

HOW TO TALK TO CRUSHES, FEEL K4RUD.

WELL, WHAT IF THERE WAS A PILL STUDENTS COULD TAKE THAT COULD PROVIDE ALL THE ANSWERS?

THAT'S THE PREMISE OF THE POP ROCK MUSICAL BE MORE CHILL.

NOW PLAYING OFF BROAD WAIT AT SIGNATURE THEATER AND FANS CAN'T GET ENOUGH.

HERE'S THE STORY.

> FOR FANS OF THE MUSICAL BE MORE AND CHILL, THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF AN OFF BROADWAY RUN AT NEW YORK CITY SIGNATURE THEATER WAS A DREAM COME TRUE.

THAT'S BECAUSE WHILE COUNTLESS YOUNG FANS HAVE OBSESSED OVER THE SCORE, CHARACTERS AND MESSAGE, YOU HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN IT.

GOOD MORNING.

TIME TO START THE DAY.

KA-KA-KA-KA COME ON.

THE POP ROCK MUSICAL BASED ON A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL WITH THE SAME TITLE HAD A LIMITED FOUR-WEEK RUN AT NEW JERSEY'S TWO RIVER THEATER BACK IN 2015.

MET WITH MILD REVIEWS, THE SHOW WAS PERFORMED BY ONLY A COUPLE DOZEN MOSTLY NON-PROFESSIONAL THEATER COMPANIES IN THE THREE YEARS THAT FOLLOWED.

BUT AWAY FROM THE FOOT LIGHTS, A CULT FOLLOWING BEGAN TO BUBBLE UP ONLINE.

THE CATCHY CAST ALBUM FROM TWO RIVER THEATERS PRODUCTION INSPIRED FAN ART AND SONG COVERS ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.

THE RESULT?

A DIE-HARD FAN BASE FOR A MUSICAL TO WHICH MOST PEOPLE 8 COULDN'T BUY A TICKET.

ONLY LISTEN TO AN ALBUM AND IMAGINE.

WE LISTENED TO THE CAST ALBUM.

THERE'S A LOT OF INTERNET CRAZE ABOUT THE SHOW.

A LOT OF US LISTEN TO THE SOUND TRACK AND GET IN ON SITES LIKE INSTAGRAM, TUMBLER.

MY FRIEND SAID THERE WAS ART ON TUMBLER, IT GOT FAMOUS AND IT SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE.

I LISTENED OVER THE SUMMER AND GOT A TIKTED.

9 RECORDING HAS BEEN STREAMED MORE THAN 160 MILLION TIMES.

SO WITH NO SURPRISE THE OFF BROADWAY RUN AT SIGNATURE THEATERS SOLD OUT BEFORE IT OPENED, WAS EXTENDED BY A WEEK AND SOLD OUT AGAIN IN A MATTER OF HOURS.

THE SHOW FOCUSES ON A HIGH SCHOOL NOBODY NAMED JEREMY WHO JUST WANTS TO GET BY WITHOUT BEING BULLIED AND MAYBE EVEN CONNECT WITH HIS CRUSH CHRISTINE.

IT'S A CLASSIC COMING OF AGE TALE WITH TIE LOG THAT FEELS REALISTIC.

AND WHEN BE MORE CHILL TAKES A DECIDEDLY UNREALISTIC SCI-FI TURN, IT SETTLES INTO CARTOONY IN A WAY THAT APPEALS TO YOUNG PEOPLE.

♪ EVERYTHING OF VALUE IS GOING TO BE ♪ ♪

PROTAGONIST JEREMY TAKES WHAT IS LITERALLY A CHILL PILL, A SUPER QUANTUM UNIT PROCESSOR.

IT IMPLANTS IN HIS BRAIN AND TELLS HIM HOW TO ACT WHICH SOUNDS LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE FOR A TEENAGE OUT CAST.

OF COURSE THINGS GO AWRY.

HUHABLE SONGS AND EYE CATCHING COSTUMES, CHAVEZ SUAREZ CAME DIRECTLY TO THE THEATER FROM THE AIRPORT.

HE AND HIS FAMILY FLEW IN FROM CALIFORNIA TO SEE THE SHOW FOR HIS 15th BIRTHDAY.

HOW EXCITED IS HE?

ON A SCALE FROM 1 TO 15, A 15.

I BEGGED MY MOM TO COME FOR MY BIRTHDAY.

WE ALL WORKED TOGETHER.

WE SOLD CAKES TO GET HERE.

YEAH, LIKE THEY DID A LOT OF HELP, THEY WORKED A LOT TO GET HERE, TOO.

IT'S A BIG THING AMONG THEATER KIDS ESPECIALLY, THEATER TEENS.

IN TOWN FROM ILLINOIS, SHE'S SEEING THE SHOW WITH HER MOM.

SHE'S ALSO A THEATER TEEN.

SHE CAME IN COSTUME.

PLAYING THE CHARACTER MICHAEL, JEREMY'S BEST FRIEND.

THE THING I LOVE ABOUT THE SHOW, IT'S, IT'S REALLY RELATABLE IN A LOT OF WAYS BECAUSE BEING A THEATER PERSON, I LOVE CHRISTINE.

I'M KIND OF A LITTLE BIT AWKWARD SOCIALLY OUTCAST, THE POINT OF THE SHOW.

M MICHAEL IN THE BATHROOM HITS HOME.

♪ MICHAEL IN THE BATHROOM, MICHAEL IN THE BATHROOM AT A PARTY ♪ ♪

THE SONG MICHAEL IN THE BATHROOM HITS HOME WITH A LOT OF FANS.

NUMBERLESS YOUTUBE VIDEO WERE MADE AROUND THE SONG.

IT'S PART OF WHAT TIPPED OFF CREATORS JOE TRACE AND JOE ICONIS THEIR SHOW MIGHT HAVE A WIDER IMPACT THAN ORIGINALLY THOUGHT.

IT WAS A YEAR AGO, SPRING 2017, AND I STARTED NOTICING ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA EXCITEMENT ABOUT OUR SHOW.

AND IT SORT OF SHOCKED ME AND IT SHOCKED JOE AND GEORGE SALAZAR WHO SINGS MICHAEL IN THE BATH ROOMT WHICH IS THE GATEWAY TO BE MORE CHILL.

THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED BECAUSE HEAP L LOVED THE SHOW.

IT'S REALLY REMARKABLE.

AFTER PERFORMANCES AUDIENCE MEMBERS GATHER IN THE LOBBY TO GREET THE CAST.

HELENA COLEMAN DRESSED AS THE CHARACTER MICHAEL GETS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET GEORGE SALAZAR WHO PLAYS THE ROLE ON STAGE.

IT'S BEEN SURREAL WHO HAS BEEN THRUST INTO THE LIFE OF AN ICON, BUT ALSO UPLIFTING.

WHAT I LOVE THE MOST ABOUT THIS POPULARITY FOR BE MORE CHILL, IS THE SCREAMING, I'M NOT A BIG FAN OF THE SCREAMING.

IT'S JUST -- IT'S HEARING PERSONAL STORIES FROM KIDS WHO IMPRESS ME SO MUCH WITH HOW WELL THEY KNOW THEMSELVES.

IT'S REALLY SPECIAL TO WATCH YOUNG PEOPLE BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES AND JUST GO FORTH WITH PRIDE IN WHO THEY ARE.

SALAZAR AND OTHERS IN THE SHOW ARE PLEASED TO BE PART OF A PROJECT WITH A DIVERSE CAST AND A MESSAGE OF VALUING INDIVIDUALITY AND THINKING FOR ONE SELF.

IT'S A STORY THAT WASN'T AVAILABLE TO HIM WHEN HE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL.

TO NOW BE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THAT AS AN ADULT, SOMEHOW PLAYING A TEENAGER, TO BE HERE AND TO BE ABLE TO TELL A STORY THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE RELATING TO, I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.

IT IS A DREAM COME TRUE.

AND IT'S ONLY GETTING BETTER FOR THE BE MORE CHILL TEAM AND THE SHOW'S FANS.

THOSE WHO COULDN'T SNAG A TICKET FOR THE OFF-BROADWAY RUN WON'T HAVE TO GO BACK TO RELYING ON DETAILS FROM THE INTERNET.

THE HIT MUSICAL IS SET TO TRANSFER TO BROADWAY IN EARLY 2019.

IN MANHATTAN, I'M MATTIE ORTON FOR 'METROFOCUS.'

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY --

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.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019