The growing toll of opiate addiction

Our children were dying. That’s what our report “Wasted Youth” exposed in March 2007, when we revealed the toll OxyContin and heroin addiction had taken on this region.

Dozens had died, many under the age of 25, and thousands had endured nonfatal overdoses. For that series, we examined death certificates from Jan. 2004-Aug. 2006 in the 28 communities we cover. The work revealed a time of untold tragedy for this region. We have more bad news — things are getting worse. We have revisited the records and updated our research — in the past 12 months, the number of overdoses surged, the number of dead hit a high. It’s clear — the sickness of opiate addiction, already beyond control, is spreading through our cities and towns. And there is no end — no cure to what’s killing our children — in sight.

 — Steve Damish, managing editor