The Rise of Fentanyl: Drug Addiction On The I-95 – Two Years On

The Rise of Fentanyl: Drug Addiction On The I-95 – Two Years On


# Oh, say can you see…? # Get him on the ground. HE GROANS
Get him on the ground. Sir! It is the number one public health
challenge of our time. Sir! Pulse. MAN CONTINUES TO GROAN It’s not a poor people thing
any more, it’s not a inner-city ghetto drug any more,
it’s everywhere. It’s hard to even recognise some
of these people when they’ve lost a lot of their humanity down here. Tomorrow’s not a promise. It’s not heroin that’s
killing our people, it’s fentanyl. MUSIC: Star-Spangled Banner I’m not going to die from this. Like, I’m not.
Not going to die from this. It was like, we went from
20 overdoses to 80 overdoses in the matter of a month and we
were like, “What the hell happened?” # In the land of the free… # I feel like it’s a waste
of my life, it’s a fucking
waste of everything. # And the home of the… # I would say that fentanyl
is the Horseman of the Apocalypse, and it’s the one named Death. # ..brave. #
SIRENS WAIL For decades, Interstate 95
has been notorious for its role in the illegal
drug trade in America. Stretching from Florida to Maine,
this corridor gives cartels easy entry to major cities. We first met Anna two years ago. She was a new resident on Baltimore’s backstreets
of addiction. A lot of people walking by. All right, come on… SHE YELPS Do not do that! Dude, you scratched me! Are you OK? Little bit of a rush? Anna was recently released from jail
after serving two weeks for prostitution –
which means two weeks on no heroin. What time is it? And since then,
she claims to have only taken pills. What time is it? Is there something in it?
Barely. If you want it, I’ll go grab it… The last two years,
I guess nothing’s changed but everything’s changed.
I know that sounds really weird but I’m still down here, I’m still jumping
from house to house. I’m still with the same guy. I feel a little trapped. I’m scared to shoot up again
but I know eventually I probably will if I stay down here. I’m not sure
if I see my future right now. I mean really when
I think about it, I don’t know what I’m going to do in three years,
I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow, I don’t know
what I’m going to do in an hour. I mean, all I can do is hope
that I’ll do the right thing, you know, and not
what I’m doing now. This is gang-run west Baltimore, the epicentre of Baltimore’s
opioid epidemic. Patty, a former addict,
formed Angels of Addiction just after her son died
of a heroin overdose. Here, walk on my feet. A lifeline to the lost,
she has fed and clothed addicts and their families
on these streets for years. Any time, 24/7. I lost my only son in 2002,
and God blessed me with many, many children and
it’s an honour to serve them and they’re very precious people,
a lot suffer from the disease of addiction, it’s a very big
problem, an epidemic here. I could never count throughout
the years how many people that I’ve helped or known
that have died from this disease. At least 100 people
in the last few years. It’s sad because they’re my… You know, next time we come,
somebody might say, oh, so-and-so didn’t make it. That happens often. Especially since this
fentanyl has been out. Fentanyl is very dangerous,
because it’s stronger than the heroin and people are
overdosing on it and it’s, you know, really scary and very
alarming and we’re… We’re losing a lot of people. I chase fentanyl,
I chase carfentanil because it’s the only dope
I can feel any more. But it is a big problem,
because it’s so powerful, people that have been clean
for years and just recently decided to relapse, erm, they end up OD-ing. You know,
off of a half or a quarter pill. That’s what it is, it’s not heroin. I used to get high,
I don’t get high no more. I’m just addicted to the cut,
fentanyl. They stick it in capsules
and then you stick it in your arm,
not knowing what you’re getting. And it could be a little bit
of nothing or a whole lot of too much. And I’ve had friends drop… Several, more than several, handfuls, that have had
a little bit too much. Every day coming down here,
seeing my friends, I would hear about one of them
overdosing or dying. It’s very dangerous and
it’s killing a lot of people. The sickness of addiction
is when you hear people overdosing and dying, the addict wants to know,
where’s that stuff? Because they want the stronger,
longer-lasting stuff. But they don’t realise
that that’s that next hit, that may be the last. The bottle’s empty. Thank you, ma’am. I appreciate it. Probably nine out of ten people
do fentanyl and don’t even know it. None of us know what we’re doing. A lot of the people that we know
either died or moved or went to jail. Some go to rehab
but they always come back. Everyone out here
is hooked on fentanyl. It’s not really so much the heroin,
like I said, it’s not even in it. The fentanyl’s what
everybody’s into it now. I said I’m not going to leave
my boyfriend ever. And if he’s down here,
I’m down here. Either he goes to jail,
or I go to jail, we’ve never been clean together
since I’ve been with him. Well, since we’ve gotten high. She said she hasn’t used
no needles, so I’m proud of her, she’s been doing good. But she always threatens me,
so that’s her threat, and that would make my heart,
I told her it would break my heart. We meet Anna as she searches
for her morning fix. Addiction seems to be fighting back. Hi. Hiya. Hiya. Yes, I’m fine,
you don’t have to ask. SHE MUMBLES I’m fine. How was your night? Great! Tell us what happened?
Nothing. The last thing I feel like doing
is fucking talking right now. Yeah, I’m still here. Anna and Dave squat in abandoned
houses, moving frequently to avoid being found by landlords or police. The landlord actually ended up
coming while we were inside so we had to hurry up and go hide
in one of the rooms and then escape out the house
when he wasn’t looking. So I again got
interrupted on my sleep. What did you spend your money on? I got a pill, he got a pill
and then we each bought crack after we got our deal. That we needed, like gas and stuff. What were the pills? I don’t know, dope? What else? Then you said you had to go
get some more money, how did you do that? Go and get a date. Anna prostitutes herself
for the money needed to buy drugs for herself and her boyfriend Dave. It never ends, you know? I wasn’t even
planning on going outside. It’s just that we didn’t
have any money. So because of that,
it took me for ever to get a date. What time of day were
you out trying to get a date? It was night-time. What time of night? Something like five in the morning. But I didn’t go until
like one in the morning. I can’t remember,
but I usually go in and out, I don’t just… What I mean is I usually go outside,
I’ll get a date then I hurry. Get the money, either rob them
or just do a super date and come back home and then
I go back out, before morning. Or it depends, sometimes I
don’t even know I want to do drugs and we hang out. Most people, when they are 23,
have a goal in life, have wishes, desires. Do you have any? No. I don’t plan no more. Why not? I guess because it’s like
too late to fix. Anna still claims that
she has not injected heroin since her release from jail. Her body tells a different story. She heads off in search for a place
to stay for the night. But that wasn’t her first priority. I was just sniffing it just to try
it and make sure the powder’s… Like, heroin’s bitter,
but fentanyl has kind of like got a sweeter taste to it. Anna is back in the
full grip of her addiction. I don’t know how to live
in any other way no more. Am I wrong? Like, we don’t know what else to do,
do you understand? Like, when people break their arm
and legs, they need rehab to walk. Like, we need rehab to learn
how to live, like all over again. Name’s Nathan O’Brien. I’m from Kentucky. My name is Olivia Light,
I’m from Ojai, California. My name’s Ed, I’m from
New Haven, Connecticut. I’m Johnny Montasanno,
I’m from Long Island, New York. My name’s Al, I’m from Ocean County,
New Jersey. My name’s Joe Wilkins,
I’m from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My name’s Tommy,
I’m from Birmingham, Alabama. My name’s Millie,
I’m from Currituck, North Carolina. I’m addicted to heroin.
I was addicted to heroin and prescription opiates.
I was addicted to heroin. I struggled with heroin
for four years. I’m a recovering heroin addict. I struggle with prescription
pills and heroin. My addiction was
pain pills and heroin. I struggled with heroin. Over the course of the last
two years, I wouldn’t say that it got better. I would say that it’s gotten worse. We see more and more patients
coming in that have experienced multiple overdoses
prior to coming in. I really don’t see an end in it. I don’t see it getting
better at all. Jodi has dealt with the
opioid crisis since she was a child. Her mother is a lifelong addict. And she now runs an addiction
recovery centre in Florida. This addiction changed me
from being a talented, ambitious young kid into basically a degenerate,
just a shadow. It took my family,
my friends, my freedom. It took everything. My addiction took my self-worth,
my dignity, my self-respect. My health, my friends and family,
my education, money. What are they going to do with me? I couldn’t get a job,
I couldn’t keep the job. Most of my family members
consider me dead. I’m thankful that we have a place
where patients can come, seek help in a safe environment to start working on the reasons
why they turn to drugs. But every single day
it’s a multitude of new people. It’s like the floodgates have opened
and it’s just non-stop. I’ve been clean
for four and a half years. And two months,
I’ll have five years. Currently, I’ve been clean
over 100 days. Just over one year. I’ve been clean for,
the 23rd of this month, it will be 60 days. Since March 20, 2017. I mean, the date resonates
in my brain, March 19, 2016. That’s when I got clean
and it wasn’t easy, but it was the most glorious
experience of my life. Brittney seems to have travelled
a long way from her days of addiction. But the beaches of Jacksonville,
Florida are only a couple of hours’ drive from Orlando,
where Jodi first introduced us to Brittney two years ago. When Brittney admitted to
The Recovery Village, she absolutely was
ready for treatment and admitted the fact
that she had an addiction problem. She had OD’d several times –
very, very close calls – and she was ready. I’m addicted to heroin. SHE SOBS I want to stop, but I can’t. It’s that right here – I remember
thinking how would it feel if my mother would have seen me
at her kitchen table, where, you know,
I grew up eating at. I don’t know, it’s just when
you’re in addiction, you don’t care. Find the Narcan, find the Narcan. Seeing that video, watching her at this table… ..and nodding off as they call it, nodding and falling asleep and then pretty much
drooling, it was horrible. It was really devastating
to see that. I was sick for three months,
like, throwing up constantly. I thought it was a bad flu. I got all these different
tests done, one of them was a pregnancy test. I remember her coming back
and telling me, “You’re positive.” And I was like,
“I’m positive for what?” And she told me I was pregnant
and I immediately started bawling. Brittney had a baby girl,
beautiful, sweet baby girl. Say cheese, baby, say cheese. And about a month after that,
sadly, Brittney relapsed again. And this was very devastating. My mom… Me and my mom got in a
fight earlier in that morning. My mom said some things
she didn’t mean and I was already in a very bad mental place. I went out to get formula
and ended up at a gas station and an old dealer ended up
being at that same gas station. Ended up purchasing a bag,
but I came home and we had a nice dinner, held my baby,
I sat right here. We had been sitting
here at the table, chitchatting and the baby
was snoozing. Brittney had asked me, that
she wanted to go to the bathroom. So the baby started
waking up and I held the baby. Then Brittney was in the bathroom. I remember sitting on the toilet
and talking to my mom from the living room. And I snorted the whole bag. My mom’s in the other
room with my child and, and I just kind of nodded off
and I felt OK for a little bit. And my mom’s voice got distant
and then everything went black. And I had the baby in my arms
and I go into the bathroom and she is passed out, gurgling
and drooling from the mouth, leaning against the wall,
sitting on the toilet. Um… It was devastating, it was scary. I had to get her to wake up
and I ran into the living room, the baby was sleeping again. I put her down in her little bed
and ran back into the bathroom shaking and screaming at Brittney
and smacking her on her face to try to get her to come out of it. And she’d finally came out of it,
I’m at the same time trying to call 911. And came out of it to my mom
holding my baby in her arms, on the phone with paramedics,
trying to bring me to. I just felt nothing but anger. Anger, frustration again, and I really, I was so angry at her,
so angry and so hurt, and so confused how
she could do that. I did not know what happened. But once I started
putting things together, I was just kind of
in disbelief at myself. So… I wasn’t thinking about my daughter,
I wasn’t, I didn’t care about my mom or how she felt. I just felt so depressed. And not good enough,
like, I just felt like my daughter didn’t deserve me.
She deserved better. I felt like my mother
could raise her, I mean, it’s just… But, yeah. You just don’t think
that they’re going do this again, especially now,
especially with a baby, especially knowing
that you have that beautiful little baby, how could do you this? This drug pulls them in,
like none other. It steals their dreams,
it steals their lives. It’s almost stole my grandbaby’s
mother from us again. I’ve told Brittney that one
of the saddest things I would ever have to do would be to have to tell my granddaughter about her mother, that her mother was an addict,
and she tried very hard to get past this addiction,
but was unable to, and died from it. In 2017, we had just under 72,000
Americans die of drug overdoses. Jay, Jay look at me. That’s a phenomenal number. It’s almost hard to imagine. Has he taken drugs or anything?
I have no idea. It is the number one public health
challenge of our time. Opioids are now the biggest
drug epidemic in American history. The number of deaths from
opioid abuse have skyrocketed over the past 15 years… Killing tens of thousands
of Americans every year. That’s more deaths than
from car accidents and from guns. Emergency services overwhelmed. Another family burying a loved one. She overdosed in her car,
while her two-year-old daughter was in the back seat. CHILD CRIES CHILD SOBS In certain age groups,
between 25 and 34 in the United States,
20% of all deaths are due to opioid overdoses. Of that 72,000, the majority
are opioids and the majority of the opioids are the synthetic
products, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is taking the opioid
epidemic to a new level of urgency. Fentanyl, a drug more
powerful than heroin. It’s 50-100 times
more potent than morphine. Fentanyl’s so potent, you could die
with the syringe still in your arm. It’s so potent,
so incredibly potent, that it only takes a few
milligrams to cause a death, and now we see fentanyl lacing
not only the heroin supply, but we see it in cocaine and
methamphetamine, in all sorts of drugs because
it’s dirt cheap. If heroin’s the devil, to continue with
the biblical analogy, I would say that fentanyl is
a Horseman of the Apocalypse and it’s the one named Death, because it just brings death. All right. Yeah, if you just go
straight here I’ll show you some of the more affected areas. Kensington is Philadelphia’s
Ground Zero for opioids. And it has just been
declared a disaster zone. Dan’s family has also
battled with addiction. He now fights on behalf
of those still struggling. I mean, this becomes
what the neighbourhood is. You see, most people around here
you’re going to see are high. You know, so the neighbourhood
is almost entirely consistent of people who are abusing. Can’t walk through
this neighbourhood without being offered drugs. It’s hard to even
recognise some of these people, it just seems like
they’re in a jungle. And they’ve lost a lot
of their humanity down here. Heroin’s been in Philadelphia
for decades, this is not a new story. It’s just that recently the death
toll has gotten so out of hand and the farther you look,
the more you realise how truly desperate things have become. I believe in 2016
we had 272 homicides and over 900 overdose deaths. Last year we had around
300 homicides and 1,200 overdosed. So it went from being
three times the murder rate to four times the murder rate
in one year. If you look at the charts
of what opioids are killing people or what drugs are killing people,
in recent years fentanyl has just taken off
literally just like a rocket, but now because of, you know,
how deep some of these people are in the throes of addiction
and how high their tolerance is, fentanyl has become introduced
slowly into the mix so that people can get high again,
because what some people don’t realise, is that a lot
of these people who are using drugs on a regular basis aren’t
necessarily using it to get high, they’re using it to maintain
their addiction, make their headache go away, to sort of regulate. Any amount of fentanyl would kill
most people who aren’t addicted almost instantly. If it continues to get worse,
like, where does it go from here? I am a heroin user. I’ve been using heroin
for about 20 years. Alex is just one of the 70,000
active heroin users currently living in Philadelphia. This ain’t no life for nobody,
I mean. This is like the bottom
of the barrel right here. This ain’t for nobody. I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. I generally have to score about
six times a day to keep myself well, just to be able to function, really. It’s all it comes down to,
just to be able to function. I hope that it’s fentanyl
because I’ve been doing it for quite some time, and heroin
that’s actually heroin will not get me well. My body actually
craves the fentanyl. It’s different,
it’s a different high, it’s a different feeling and I’m not
really sure what the difference is between the heroin and the fentanyl. I don’t know. But, it’s what my body
craves and without it, I’ll be just as sick as I am now. I feel like it’s a waste of my life. I mean a got a lot of people
in my corner who care about me, a lot of people in my family
that love and care about me, and want to see me do well,
and I’m not doing nothing except sticking a needle in my arm,
every day, all day long. Waste. Waste of time, waste
of energy, waste of money. It’s a fucking waste of everything. It’s just a waste. In need of a place to sleep
Alex heads to an abandoned house that he and other addicts
sometimes use to crash. What’s going on? Not too much. It makes me do things
that I normally wouldn’t do. Lie. Manipulate. I’ve never been like the person
to lie and tell stories, and to, you know,
try and get over it, I was not like that. But my addiction has
definitely made me that way. Makes me feel alone,
it makes me feel vulnerable. Makes me feel scared. Makes me feel unsure
of what my purpose here is. Manchester Fire And Emergency. Request for an ambulance
at Manchester. It’s the Shell gas station,
the patient is in the bathroom. She has overdosed. It’s going to be for
a female in her 20s. My caller states he went into clean, found her overdosing in the bathtub,
she was not conscious. The caller states
that she has overdosed, the patient’s going to be just
outside the church on the side. Where are the people located? She said they’re in
the middle of the street. Two people are overdosing. For a male in his 50s found
unconscious, not breathing. There’s a needle next to him. 35-year-old male.
He is not conscious, not breathing. Overdose. I don’t know what to do!
Stop talking for a moment. I don’t know what’s happening
to this generation, you know, I look out my window, you know, I’m like looking at Ground Zero,
for the United States, for fentanyl,
you know, and fentanyl dust. It’s like what the heck am I seeing? Truck 1811 – response. Outside of 340, 340 Hanover Street
for a man down, possible overdose. SIREN WAILS We went from 20 overdoses to 80
overdoses in a matter of a month and we were like,
“What the hell happened here?” Why did it hit us? Because of synthetic
heroin, it was fentanyl. We don’t have a heroin problem,
we have a fentanyl problem and we really realised that
back 2015, when we got hit so hard, but we’ve been chasing it
ever since, to try and get ahead of this and it’s really tough
to get ahead of something like this. I talk to these guys all the time,
when I’m down here, I’m pretty invested in my personnel
and I worry about what they do. I go to a lot of the calls that they
go on because I just want to see how they’re,
you know, handling things, and make sure that… I know there’s going to be some
compassion fatigue, it’s really… It’s really difficult to see this. I mean,
when I grew up in the Fire Service we never saw this much,
you know, you know, death. He’s not unconscious,
but you don’t really know, you know, when he used, you know,
what’s going to happen. They don’t want to hit him
with Narcan right away, because if they do,
he’s going to be sick. Right now they want to get
him out as, you know, as slowly as possible, so what
they’re going to probably do, is we’ll get him in the back of the
ambulance, get him to the hospital, and get a monitor on him and probably give him some Narcan
via an IV and so on. All right, Dale, we probably
should go to the hospital, get you checked out there. Oh, I don’t think I need to go
to on the side hospital. Well, yeah, you’re not… All right. Give me your hand there,
we’ll take you, we’re going to walk you back here. Tell us what happened. This gentleman was seen
on the sidewalk, unconscious, with very limited breathing,
and had just done heroin as he reported. He was actually one of the honest
ones where he admitted to doing it. Sometimes they come up
and they don’t admit to doing the heroin and, or fentanyl. And this time he did and we know
we’ve got to take him to the hospital to have him checked
out and have him not lay down somewhere elsewhere no-one
can find him and him passing away. You go on calls like that,
in this neighbourhood, and it’s a lot,
it’s the aftermath of – you ask them where the needle is. “I threw it in the street.” OK, well now, where is it?
Who plays with it? Is it an adult that picks
it up and throws it away? Or is it a child that plays with it? Then it turns into he said he did
half fentanyl, half heroin, mixed in a bag. So the little baggy
that he has, where’s that? He probably threw it on the ground. A kid plays with that,
sees it, is it candy, whatever? It’s that whole,
from my personal stand point, it’s frustrating,
because you see it all the time, every single day. Since this crisis has hit,
we go out on these types of calls over and over and over
again, all day long. So 10% of the overdoses that we get
called to for an opiate, that results in death. So how did you make it over here?
You just walked over? Yeah. Yeah, have you
ever overdosed before? Doug, can you get up? OK. You gotta. You can’t stay here! Dude, we were talking
and having like a full conversation and you just fell asleep
like, mid conversation. Douglas has obviously
overdosed on opiates. He admitted to using
fentanyl, so, yeah. This guy needs help. He needs somewhere to go,
and you know, and like I told him, it’s like there’s help
for him, you know. It’s, but it’s getting
to these people, and you know, hey, I don’t judge you people
but you don’t know where they came from, you don’t know what kind
of trauma was in their lives, so, he needs help
more than anything else. He’s sick. So… With no increase in
budgets or personnel, Manchester Fire Department now
spends 70% of their time responding to drug-related calls. Layla. Layla. Layla. Wake up. We got here, the police
officer came by the park, was doing some surveillance. Gentleman here saw her passed out, called 911, unresponsive,
we came here. She showed
all the symptoms of an overdose. Right away we administered Narcan,
started breathing for her. He’s going to give her another
Narcan, so this will be the
second one that we put in, She didn’t
respond to the first one. So we’re going to put
in a second one. If this one doesn’t work,
they’ll probably do an IV and then put it in that way. Narcan is used to block the effects
of opioids in an attempt to reverse overdoses. Now they’re going to put
the Narcan in by IV, because the two nasals got her
to come round a little bit but not fully, so… There we go. Hi, Layla! Careful, Layla. It’s just unfortunate, you know,
daytime at a park, you know. You know, you think you’re going
for a walk in the park, you know,
the next thing is an overdose, so… If this crisis right now don’t worry
you then there’s something wrong, you’re not paying attention to it. Every day,
people are out on the highway, driving down that I-95 quarter,
to the source city or source cities where these organisations
have these drugs readily available. It’s all day long,
it’s Monday through Friday, and on the weekends
and it’s night-time, daytime and during business hours,
the product is always available. But look, New Hampshire,
as of this morning hasn’t had a heroin overdose death. It’s not heroin
that’s killing our people, it’s fentanyl,
and it’s changed the game. It’s cheap, it’s easy
to manufacture for these cartels. They don’t want to worry
about opium any more, they don’t have to
worry about the plant, sun, water, how they’re going
to grow these, growing cycles, they don’t worry about any of that,
they can mass-produce this stuff in the same labs
that they have set up, that they’ve used, you know,
when they were making methamphetamine or any other drug,
and they’re able to manufacture it faster, and cheaper. Working with local law enforcement,
the DEA has identified dealers operating from a park. He’s getting into a blue BMW. He picked up. He’s looking around. The blue BMW is leaving. So you can see how this works,
we’re set up in the park, we’re sort of
at a position where we can see what’s happening,
we see customers coming in. He’s coming to the park. They’re getting served,
they’re getting back in the car. Our guys are calling it out
to the surveillance units, the surveillance units are taking
them away to a place where, whether it’s in New Hampshire
or Massachusetts, we can safely
make these traffic stops. Straight ahead. OK, we have another
New Hampshire customer, guys. Another
New Hampshire customer arriving. A vehicle possibly going on 95. We’re up here in New Hampshire now,
we just stopped a car that we saw it pick up from that same park,
and this woman too had the stuff stuffed inside of her body cavity. She’s pulling
it out for the troopers. Here’s the evidence here
that they just removed from this female here
on this traffic stop. Again, fentanyl,
driving up into New Hampshire to pollute our communities. The cartels will never change
what they’re doing. They have found an avenue
now with fentanyl, where they can make so much money. The other thing is we’re seeing,
and this really frightens me is, the dealers are now mixing
fentanyl with everything. We’re seeing an increase
of fentanyl mixed with cocaine, Fentanyl mixed with methamphetamine,
and if you think about it, it doesn’t even make sense,
because really they do opposite things in the body
and in the brain, but to the dealer they almost look at this
fentanyl now as a magic dust that’s just a money maker. They think if I just put
a little bit of this in there I’ll be able to spread that product
further and make more money. So they’re trying to figure out
how to get that recipe to the right point, where they can
still addict everybody, but have them come back
as much as they can, and that’s really
what’s happened here. They’ve killed more people
than war has. I like the person I am today. I used to hate myself. When we met Steven,
I didn’t know him previously, he didn’t want to hear
anything about recovery. He didn’t want nothing
to do with the conversation, even though he was kind
and sweet and respectful. I knew he just wanted to get up
and go get high that day. He had it written all over his face. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen that scene, like,
and it disgusts me how I looked. Couldn’t even keep my eyes open. I couldn’t form a sentence. Slurring, and like,
I believe I was very close to overdosing that day. Runs my life. I don’t need it
but I feel like I do. Never could get enough of it. And it just… It kind of just fed itself,
it just took everything from me, and I, and I gave it, I gave
it everything I had, willingly. It kinda took control. I’m not the same person,
you know what I mean? I’m not that person. I believe drugs, heroin especially,
completely changes who you are. It will make you do things
that you never thought you’d do. Make you into somebody
that you’re not, you know. Steve had hit rock-bottom
and just accepted an offer from Jodi to leave Pennsylvania
for the first time in his life, and fly to Florida for treatment. Hi, Jodi. Hi, Steven, how are you, dear? How you doing? I’m good. I’m so glad you made it.
How was your trip? Good? OK. Feeling OK? Yeah, sure. I wasn’t… But I know it’s not too late,
that can still make it right. What I told them. After three months in rehab,
Steve left Florida clean and in search of a new life. One without the temptations
of America’s opioid crisis. Steve and I have kept
in touch here and there, throughout the course
of the last two years. I know that he’s still clean
and sober, I know that he’s living in Kentucky,
you know, I haven’t spoken to him on the phone. SHE KNOCKS ON DOOR We just text every couple of months. Oh, my God! Hi. Oh, how did I know he had
some tricks up his sleeve. Hello.
Oh, hi, how are you doing? I’m good. How are you?
I’m good! Oh, my God,
look how healthy you look, boy! You look amazing. Yeah? Uh-huh.
I’m glad to see you. I’m glad to see you. Oh, that’s awesome,
that’s such a surprise. Come check out the house.
All right. Sounds great. So you left Florida,
went back to Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh area. Yeah. And wasn’t going to work or… I had an opportunity to move here,
and I kind of jumped on it, you know what I mean,
for the first time in my life I was able to just pick up and move. Before, I was so afraid to leave. You were afraid to leave
what, afraid to leave? I was afraid to leave the area
I was in because I didn’t know where to get the next one, cos I wouldn’t know where to get it
if I left. Right, it was the… Right, so the drugs kept you captive
in so many different ways. Yeah, yeah, it kept me there,
in the same area. Now, I had the freedom
that I didn’t have to stay around the area,
because I didn’t know where I was
going to get the next one. Does it exist here? Like, it technically
exists everywhere? It exists. It’s everywhere. Right, so,
I mean, it’s happening here? It definitely is here,
I’ve seen it a little bit. I know an addict when I see one. It’s definitely here. You have to go looking for it.
If I wanted to find it. It doesn’t come knocking
at your door or drop you off like a pizza, right. Yeah, like back
home, it was right in your face… Sure. ..and it came and found you. I really like it here. It’s really nice.
I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I don’t remember a time where
I felt this good about myself. Two years ago, I couldn’t even
dream that I could be here, doing what I’m doing,
and as happy as I am. If there’s one individual – Steven –
who I know that we had a hand in saving his life, it’s worth it. Nobody’s life’s better
than someone else. We all deserve a chance. At success. And to live.
Just some of us have lost our way. It’s not a poor people thing
any more, it’s not an inner city ghetto drug any more,
it’s everywhere and it’s killing people left and right,
every single day. Something’s got to be done. It’s got to change. What’s it going to take?
You know what I mean? Someone can see the power like that,
losing their child too it. Before they open their eyes to it? Like, something’s got to give now,
or there, eventually, there’s going to be no coming back from it. I just hope we haven’t
reached that point already. My story doesn’t end here. This isn’t the last time
anyone’s going to see me. Just I…
I’m not going to die from this. Like, I’m not.
Not going to die from this. I want my daughter to be proud
of me, and I want my… I want people to be proud of me. You know, I want
to be proud of myself. If I was your mother right know,
what would you want to say to her? Oh, mom, I’m sorry. I know, I mean, I can’t tell her, “Hey, wait, couple more years I’ll
get better,” I can’t tell her that, I don’t know. That’s what sucks about this. Tomorrow’s not a promise. For her or for me. Oh, my greatest hope
is that I can beat the addiction. That I can just go
back to being Alex, that I can be a good son,
good brother, good father, that’s like my greatest hope. That I can beat this,
walk away from it, and just not look back. We lost contact with Alex,
so went back to search for him. But he was nowhere to be found. # Gave proof through the night # That our flag was still there # O say does that
star-spangled banner yet wave # O’er the land of the free # And the home of the… # ..brave? #

100 thoughts on “The Rise of Fentanyl: Drug Addiction On The I-95 – Two Years On

  1. I am actually dead. I was only 33. I left my 7 yr old Daughter & the person writing this who still cries EVERYDAY for me & her Sister who also died the same day as i did… June 19, 1994 Sunday on Father's Day
    Chicago drugs & violence 💔

  2. " Somewhere in the foodchain of the pharmecutical industry and the crooked doctors that take payments from high end druglords this sad system of curruption and endless addiction lies some hopeless cycle of street to suburban and urban societies in desperate perile of these substances…

    The breaking down of these life trials and tribulations are subject to locality and situation that can only be combatted by proper recovery resourcing and relentless strong free Will to rise above the dark shadows of which must be compromised for the ritious path into recovery of a new found body and mind.

    God help these souls seek the light "

    – Jason Matthew Mahan –

  3. I never once considered the four horse men to be a thing, instead of a person, but the more I think about it, the more I believe he is absolutely right, fentanyl drug overdoses are this generations four horse men, and it’s only getting worse, it’s so sad what’s happening, and it’s not their fault, addiction is a disease like any other, I just hope to God they can find a way to stop it, there’s just been so much senseless death, it literally breaks my heart. I’ve lived in Toronto all of my 50 years, I work in a major trauma centre at the downtown hospital, and the amount of fentanyl drug overdoses that are coming through our doors is staggering. Every single month, even by week, it just keeps going up and up. The vast majority all young people, for the most part poverty stricken, homeless, and desperate, sadly the drugs are the only escape they can find, and our governments are not doing enough to put a stop to it, because I don’t think they care. They keep slashing the budget for social services that are you sensual to keep all these people alive, but the elitist government we have right now only cares about the rich, they literally steal from the poor and give it to the rich, which does not help this crisis, but makes it 100 times worse. There are days when I come home from my shift, I sit down, and I burst into tears. I am a 50-year-old man, but during an average graveyard shift, I’ve been seeing dozens of drug overdose patients coming through the ER, and then having to deal with their families, do you have any idea what it’s like to tell a mother or a father that their child just died from a drug overdose? No amount of education in the world can prepare you for that, and while we desperately try to remain professional, we’re only human, and there are days I just want to quit, because I cannot handle another mother or father absolutely devastated because of the words coming out of my mouth. I try to put on a brave face, but it breaks everything in me, and I now find myself not just telling the family of the death, but crying and consoling them, which is not part of my job, but I just cannot help it, a lot of these patients are just kids, I look at them and think they could be my kids, but it’s just too much for me to handle. I went into this careered so that I can help people, and I knew that this would be part of my job, but never did I think it would be this bad, it’s not uncommon for me to tell a mother or a father your child has died, five or six different times during one shift alone. Honestly, I don’t know if I can do it anymore. I spent so long studying and I work so hard to get where I’m at, but what do you do win the object of your studies is the thing that makes you cry almost every day of your life?

  4. As a person hearing all about the negative feed about drugs , I do have common sense not to touch ANY drugs at all even in my darkest days of life .

  5. Don't wait to hit rock bottom before you reach out to professionals who understand and will accompany you through a process. Life is too short, USA rehab centers call 1-844-425-7123

  6. Just kill those drug dealers point blank if that helps … But ppl will always find a way I think to get what they want
    Kudos to these paramedics and police ppl who are on the call and trying to help them

  7. I have lost 7 friends to fentanyl and my bestfriend. I myself have been clean since September 23rd 2014 I never used heroin or fentanyl it was oxycontin and Roxy's for me which is no better and its been the fight of my life. Still is but atleast I got something to wake up and fight for everyday. I wish this stuff never existed I would have everyone still. The saddest part to me is this is happening everywhere everyday effecting everyone somehow. Keep on the fight it's 100% doable your brain thinks you need it but you dont. If you need help seek it just take that first step and your life will change I promise you that. I wish to never hear of another overdose again but sadly that's not the case yet. Good luck everyone and to all that have been sober god bless you.

  8. Why do people take the drug the first time , knowing full well that , without exception , it will lead to addiction ? What idiots !

  9. I'm 22, on methadone and still struggling with fentanyl addiction. I am a former model and seeing that woman at 23 look 43 scared me so much I have two days clean so far.. got to start somewhere

  10. I've been clean for almost 4 years and it's a miracle I'm still alive. I know I couldn't have done it without the methadone program. Withdrawal keeps a lot of addicts from seeking help so if we could offer the road to recovery with Methadone or Suboxone I'm positive we could get many of these folks off to a great start. It's impossible to work a program when you can't leave the bathroom.

  11. Not to be harsh but why don’t junkies just kill themselves ? This is for survivors too like why didn’t you kill yourself despite the fact that you were so low what made you keep going? I think it takes genuine strength to be able to pull yourself out of something like that

  12. I was an intravenous heroin addict for 14 years. I thought I was incapable of ever getting clean. This girl in the car reminds me of myself. Thank God I never had to sell myself, because I had an “enabler” but when that all ended, after 12.5 years, I got to my rock-bottom, OD’d off fentanyl & my 17 year old daughter had to give me CPR! Paramedics came & narcan wouldn’t work; I had to be shocked! My 3 teenagers got taken away after that & I ended up going to rehab & im still clean! I thought I was lost forever! My children had never seen me sober, my 17 year old saved my life! I thank God for my rock-bottom & overdose every day, or I’d still be dope sick every morning & loving a horrible life, it’s groundshog day, that movie; a pathetic existence. If I can overcome it, my God, it’s possible! I was soooo fucked up!!!!

  13. I care about life but everyone has a choice every day start making better choices drugs are not your friend wake up

  14. It is America's idiotic policy on drugs that is killing people all over the world, and many just don't realize it. The war on drugs is a war that will going to be won, and is currently lost on the demand side, not on the supply side, as many think.

  15. Suboxone is a lifesaver and I firmly believe that! I was an opiate addict for 13 years and hit rock bottom. I found suboxone treatment and since then I have held a great job for 7 years, purchased my dream home, a jeep, a rzr and have money in my bank account. And the most important thing I have a wonderful 11 year old son who I raise. I'm not bragging but just simply saying there is hope!!! Suboxone saved my life. It hurts my heart to see these people struggle, just know things can get better if you want them to

  16. Baltimore ain't got nothing compared to Vancouver. This is awful. Wish all them best of luck. My best friend just died Sunday from fentanyl

  17. Getting off drugs is not easy by any means but staying off them seems to be the hardest part , I took my niece to an isolated field where we stayed in a Caravan whilst she came off Heroin . My vision of Hell …watching her ' Rattle ' , within two months she put on 2 stone in weight and was looking healthy , happy and hopeful . She got a job and all seemed well until her ex boyfriend found out where she lived , I have never hated anyone like him in my life because he wanted her hooked on drugs in order to pimp her out to pay for his drugs .Back to Hell for her and all who loved her . These despicable dealers in Death ( especially the multi -millionaires ) ought to be hanged drawn and quartered .

  18. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT IT IS NOT ALWAYS THE PARENTS OR FRIENDS OR FAMILIES FAULT , ILLEGAL DRUGS ARE BIG BUSINESS AND THE MIDDLE. ..LOWER AND LOWEST ARE USUALLY CAUGHT AT SOME POINT BUT THE BIG FISH ARE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO CATCH . CORRUPT JUDGES , CORRUPT POLICE OFFICERS , CORRUPT LOCAL AUTHORITIES ETC PERPETUATE THE PROBLEMS . BIG PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES ALSO HAVE BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS . THE EPITOME OF EVIL .

  19. Freaking addiction. Interesting thing I've noticed over the years watching people with addictions is that they don't personally identify with it "this addiction is killing me" It's always THAT or THE addiction, never taking responsibility that THEY are doing it. They seem to blame it on the drugs. Weird.

  20. I don't care about any drug addicts…. EVERYONE knows drugs are addictive so don't start….. Let Darwin do his work…… No excuses. War on drugs is a hoax and money grab. Stop making excuses for these losers.

  21. Showing addicts that there is a good life waiting for them is the only way.

    You don’t shove them into rehab and have them hangout with addicts all day.

    You fill them with hope. You give them a purpose. You don’t sit them in rooms and give up all hope to god.

  22. 11 years here. It can be done. You can have the job you want. You can have the family you desired.

    Just try. Believe in yourself and all things can and will be better.

  23. born march 8th 1980

    born/raised n grew up in baltimore county, maryland….30 mins from baltimore city my entire life bmore/baltimore was the single biggest heroin infested city…it was the heroin capitol for 20 plus years…100 open air drug corners i the city…its like a mcdonalds drve thru for dopeheads/junkies. all that raw south american heroin…comes right into Bmore via the port…we are on the edge of the east coast a port city overlooking the chesapeake bay (hence why steamed crabs r so popular here) if you have ever seen HBOs The Wire…then you know this world…spent alot of time in the city…crazy adventures….stuff I should not have survived…lost many n I do meanmany friends / extended family over the years….you cant pass a police barracks locally without seeing the Harford County/Baltimore county Heroin Awareness sign showing year to date overdoses # and year to date lives lost #

    im afraid to open up the local harford aegis newspaper or baltimore sun or afraid to log n Facebook in fear of hearing about another heroin/oxy/fentanyl seizure or raid…or another overdose of someone I know died…most of the ppl my age (late 30s or earl 40s)grew up smoking cannabis n we were in high school during the grunge rock era (nirvana alice in chains smashing pumpkins soundgarden pearl jam etc etc) and purdue pharma introduced oxycontin extended time release in 1996 wen I was in high school..myself n friends all seemed tostart at the same time….IE early adopters…first poppin oxy n then selling n sniffing…then by late 90s pawning stuff n snorting heroin for first time…my first time with heroin was april 1998…1 month after 18 bday…during senior year prior to that it was just pot n booze n pills music n video games relatively innocent…but it got serious ver quick…nearly 20 years later…numerous deaths n auto accidents n fights n being ripped off n court dates n rehab n suicides n friends in/out of system n out of state warrants n failed relationships n etc etc…swappin parents pain pills selling gram upon gram of raw heroin pawnin/stealing flt panel TVs n generators…credit card fraud you name it….some of my friends were even robbing outright….families destroyed….trust broken…crime n police blotter increases …its a dominoe effect

    i grew up 25 mins from where much of THE WIRE was filmed n only 15 mins from the I-83 / I-95 corridors..its bad n has been for years/decades….so its nothing new n very sad n tragic. On February 2nd 2001 when in the city me and my buddy Cris who was a few years older then me did our normal routine of wrapping bills in a wad…n attempting to ripcorner dealers off we had $60 but was attempting to get double ($120 worth/6 bags) most of the local corner boys dont count right away b4 handing off to runner or lookout…this boy was quick…b4 I know it he had his hand in pocket and a smal .22 all black/brown handle e put hand in back window of backseat of my driver side (directlybehind me) n i heard a click / click…2 clicks and as I peeled out n began to lurch forward I heard a shot within a foot of my head and then a 2nd shot…my ears were ringing and i almost dragged the boy fr back window till he took his hand out…but I did not realize he aimed for me click click nothing..n then as I hit the gas he aimed for my buddy Chris who was in passenger seat. My friend Christopher Breen was shot twice back in the head. The blue security cameras/Baltimore Neighborhood Watch cameras caught the entire incident…that was how they apprehended both teenage males some 5 weeks later. i had rushed to GBMC ( Greater Baltimore Medical Center) and I had blood on my Queens of the Stone Age tshirt. Chris was pronounced dead at 11:27 pm Feb 2nd. I have to live with that…but his family didnt blaame espite everything….I did get clean for a period of time…but evensomething as horrendous as that…didnt stop me permanently…I was never charged but I did have to testify in late November of that year during both trials including the gunman whose name was Quinton Hinnman he was 19 years old was sentenced on 2 charges of 1st degree manslaughter n wreckless endangerment n possession of firearm w intent to injure n sentenced to 27 years. He is still in prison today 18 years later. I should have beenshot that day…just like i should have died fr my dec 2011 heroin overdose (and my 2007 car accident when I was tboned at a 4way intersection by a lady in a jeep…i was n my red 4door chevy malibu) hit my passener side…they said If someone would have been in assenfer side they would have ben killed).

    I used opioids as awhole from about 1995 till about 2011. Roughly 16 years give or take….My last overdose I flatlined for 37 seconds which was DECEMBER 7TH, 2011 I checked into a inpatient rehab for 90days…my 3rd rehab attempt…afterwards I got on suboxone…first tablets for a few years n now the strips..n while Im not considered 100% clean/abstinent…thats fine, my quality of life is still substantially better then it was…I only see a doctor once every 4 months …i.e 3 visits per year…n i fill a normal 30 day script at normal pharmacy…1.00dollar for each copay…its the lesser of the evils n really helps…been on subs for almost 8 years…n there is studies showcasing buprenorphine as a more successful drug when consumed over maintenance/long term.

    medical marijuana is now legal since 2015 n i have a medical card/ reccomendation n it helps with mycrohns disease

  24. Usa government like this people they give them food money and support. Why they dont put this people in concentration camps and forced to work and realize the life

  25. came here by accident and stayed for a good documentary. Very glad and blessed I'm 24 and never tried a drug before and by watching this I know I never will. Prayin for everyone addicted and struggling – keep fighting for you, YOU are worth it. Do it for yourself.

  26. Anybody can get off any drugs if they truly want to change their life, obviously they enjoy doing this everyday, every month, every year, of course your not going to see the same people because you want more and more and your body can't take it anymore so your dead.. It ain't easy but if you want a better life you will start to get yourself help, I know I been there 14 years ago, I don't feel bad for nobody you choose to make your own decisions and choices in life no matter what problem you have, that is life everyday challenges.
    Love yourself and others***

  27. With all this boardcasting about the drugs just take it off the dam market but they are not going to do anything about it because to many people are in on this shit making billions of dollars, the people that invented it, the science behind it, the pharmaceutical with it, the FDA approved, and Doctors writing scripts for people to get on it and pharmacy handing it out so you see they all are part of it and getting their share, none of those people even give 10 fuk about anyone, it's all GREEDY FOR MONEY & TAKEN OUT AS MANY LIVES AS THEY COULD.. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE ANY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION FROM ANY DOCTOR, YOU CAN'T TRUST NONE OF THEM NONE..
    JUST SO PATHETIC AND PITIFUL***

  28. I work in a Methadone clinic. I love our patients. It is so so sad to see beautiful talented people in such a bad way. I always remember no one wakes up and says heres the day Im gonna go out and become and addict. Much love to all and u can get ur life back it is possible.

  29. The political war on all opioids, which include Methadone which is the successful drug for chronic pain to disabled, crippled people has made it practically impossible for them to continue with their chronic pain management. So, only thing left is to live in horrific pain every waking moment or commit suicide. Would like to see story on how this war is effecting those that need it to tolerate their physical pain.

  30. The enemies of America laugh. You druggies lose your money and then your life while you leave the rest of your fellow citizens the final bill. No more 9/11's needed, just keep sending the drugs from Afghanistan, China, and Mexico. Wake up America! This strong black brother has spoken and since I AM black you cannot disagree with me.

  31. The drug is not the problem, it's a symptom of the actual problem, which is mental health.
    It's like putting a bandaid on a wound, instead of treating the wound itself.

  32. These junkies piss me off. They are putting their families through hell as though they are right down in the gutter with them. They care nothing about anyone or anything except getting their next fix. And when they are found dead in the streets or where ever their families will go through more hell and torture and think maybe it was their fault for not talking enough to them, caring for them blah blah blah which is complete BS. And the drug pushers piss me off even more. They should get the death penalty.

  33. To the one guy saying that he craves the feeling of Fentanyl:
    Fentanyl has an additional serotinergic component in addition to it´s action on the mu-opioid-receptor, giving it an additional euphoric and antidepressive component while also severely increasing risk for seizures (just like Tramadol).

  34. Take a look at our damn country; people are beaten, stabbed, shot, and arrested for being born a certain way, children are pressured to go into life-ruining debt just to find out who they are, and are ruined further financially if they happen to get any kind of medical issue. Tech companies are selling entire human lives through data brokering, and the media force-feeds us a constant stream of bleak apocalypse preaching and disgusting fake-happy sugar-coating with ukelele music. Is it any wonder why people turn to shooting up dope to find an escape, or why people are forced to live under overpasses in tents? Our country is not great, it never was, and it never will be if anyone who wasn't born into a billionaire's family is sent straight to the gutter.

  35. I am clean from stimulators for 0,5 year. This addiction broke my relationship and my carreer plans. Feeling myself shame every single day. When you accidentally need to start the new life and losing the level you used to have in the past, it causes the real shock. But it is the only way to live. Greetings from Russia

  36. "It's not a poor people or ghetto issue it's affecting everyone" basically it's not only affecting and killing blacks so now we care. 🙄

  37. I clicked on this video because i saw the thumbnail picture of a dude having fun and enjoying his time rolling on the sidewalk 🙂

  38. What good are these people using up are resources for drugs and killing themselves it’s a way of life that they choose so That’s what they want plus they it’s a way of life ?

  39. America has lost the war on drugs it’s been lost years ago it’s called supply and demand for the weak and they don’t care what some people forget it’s by choice nobody’s holding a gun on them so let them loose their souls ?

  40. ME TOO M NOT GOIN TO DIE FROM THIS…..I WILL CHANGE 😔😔😔😔😔😔 BUT IT'S IS HARD QUIT USING IT😔😔😔

  41. Now adays m using drugs not to get hgh ya m using it just to normal….just to laugh playing just to be normal just like any another person 😔😔😔

  42. I’ve been clean 11 years on August 5th. My whole life changed. My met wife after, finally reached my dream of working as a pro sculptor, and we have four beautiful kids. I’m so glad I missed the fent boom that came after. Scary stuff and I have a special place in my heart for addicts. Hard to watch this.

  43. get on that methadone clinic or suboxone clinic peaople cuz you will die 50 percent% chance or just a matter of time ..if you are still gonna get high just PLEASE carry NARCAN and dont shootup alone,if u dont have 2,,, just awful seeing all my friends & family die,,,, it s sick….

  44. piedad !! informen cuales productos convierten a un ser humano en demonio irracional que llega a las degraciones innhumanas que matan roban y producen gestacionees danadas y enfermas algien que nos explique a los no sabemos esta catastrofes del mundo odioso que nos aterra

  45. 1. I have not a ounce of empathy for these people they destroy many lives on many levels. They all choose to do dope knowing dam well the end results of doing it.

  46. Half of my family are addicts. Within the last 3 months we lost an uncle & now his 25 yr old son to heroin overdoses. I've been on suboxone for a year now but for those around me who just wanna get high it's not enough. It's like they're on fire & you have the water to put them out but they don't want it bc they'd rather burn. It's an awful feeling & if anyone else is dealing w addiction just know 💜 I'm right there w you & wishing you all the best! I sometimes feel like when it comes to us addicts we're the only ones who wanna see each other make it through.

  47. Only 16 minutes in…so very painful and incredibly sad to watch; I don’t hold out much hope for Anna…I wish her a safe and peaceful journey.

  48. You know what the irony of all this is…
    The crack epidemic was criminalized and villainized by the media, paint a light of subhumans using crack.

    Know we are showing these addict as victims, in a sympathetic light. I wonder why this sudden change of heart? No harsh sentencing, no brutality by the police force, no campaigning against the community.

  49. My ex, who was the first guy I fell in love with, died at only 24-years-old from opioid overdose.

    Watching his smile dwindle over the years as he spiraled out of control was so heartbreaking to watch. His addiction took over his life, eventually taking it in the end.

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