Sixty-four thousand. That’s the number of Americans who died of overdoses in 2016—and it’s a hard one to wrap your mind around. It’s more than the annual deaths from AIDS, car accidents, or gun violence have ever been. It’s more than all the US military deaths during the Vietnam War.
I’ve covered the opioid epidemic since 2016, trying to make sense not only of the tens of thousands of lives lost each year, but of the millions more affected by the crisis. The articles have taken the form of timelines and explainers on how overzealous opioid prescribing transformed into a scourge of heroin and fentanyl, deep dives on successful efforts to treat addiction and reduce opioid prescriptions, stories on what Trump’s proposed policies and nominees mean for the epidemic, and profiles of the many who are touched by addiction: children flooding into foster homes, cops feeling like they’re playing “whack-a-mole,” pregnant moms with few options, parents who have lost children to overdose.
But this is a complex issue, and there are more questions to answer and stories to tell. I’d love to hear your questions about the epidemic and stories of any personal connections you might have to it. Feel free to remain anonymous or use your first name only. And if you’d prefer to email me directly, shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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