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WVPB's continuing coverage of the opioid crisis affecting West Virginia.Deaths related to opioid abuse have more than doubled in the past decade as millions of prescriptions flooded the state. Treatment programs have been overwhelmed as families struggle to cope with the fallout of addiction. These are the stories of West Virginians impacted by the opioid epidemic, and the struggle to combat the crisis.Across Appalachia, Thousands of Children are Affected by Opioid Addiction: Who’s Helping Them?West Virginia Sees Increase in 'Family' Sex Trafficking Related to Opioid EpidemicOpioid Epidemic Putting Thousands More in Foster Care

Origins of the Epidemic

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Last year, 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses.  A lot of those deaths -- about three-fourths -- were caused by opioid medication prescribed by doctors or substances like heroin obtained on the street.

A disproportionate number of the dead are from West Virginia. For several years, the state has led the nation in per-capita opioid-related deaths.

In this episode, hosts Trey Kay and Chery Glaser talk about the origins of the Appalachian drug epidemic. They're joined by Los Angeles crime reporter Sam Quinones, the author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, and by Ian Kessinger, a former addict who now runs a recovery clinic in Elkins, West Virginia.

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