This Librarian Has Become a First Responder to Opioid Overdoses | World of Hurt | (HBO)

A local resident who collects dozens of used syringes from a park every day. A librarian who routinely revives dying addicts. A former college athlete struggling with addiction.

They’re all the result of widespread opioid addiction that’s become a national emergency. Overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 — worse than car crashes or gun violence.

But the epidemic is more than just numbers. And to understand it, you have to go to the communities it’s tearing apart.

VICE News visits McPherson Square Park and Library, known by locals as “Needle Park” in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Elements of this story were first reported by Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist Mike Newall.

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50 thoughts on “This Librarian Has Become a First Responder to Opioid Overdoses | World of Hurt | (HBO)

  1. Glad I was able to get off Dextromethorphan or I might have moved on to more stronger drugs once my tolerance became stronger. Feels good being sober! But a life long battle.

  2. honestly the sheer amount of needles this guy picks up at the start of the video is INSANE. They were right in saying you have to look at the communities it affects because god knows I don't see needles on the streets where I live. I see empty nips of Fireball everywhere yeah lol, but needles are not common at all.

  3. Wow! After reading some of the comments here I sort of wonder if many of you even slightly understand what the opioid crisis is and what this video was about. The vast majority of people who are addicted to opioids never intended to get addicted to the drug. They were not experimenting with street drugs. They were prescribed painkillers by a doctor who was careless and kept increasing the dosage when the patient would complain that it was not working as well as it used to and they were once again in pain. The doctor's knew that this is one of the most addictive substances on the planet and the doctors knew that their patients were becoming addicted. Still, they just kept increasing the dosage and prescribing more because it was the easy way out for the doctor as opposed to having to deal with patients who were in chronic pain. The guy in the video with sores on his face is most definitely a junkie. He has a serious addiction to opioids and it has all but destroyed his life at this point. This came about because of a knee injury in his freshman year in college. He was not out partying, he was not out abusing drugs. He was prescribed opioid based painkillers to help him cope with the pain from his knee injury. He became physically addicted to opioids without realizing it was happening and by the time he realized he could not go for more than a few hours without having to put more opiods in his system, it was already too late. Just like with most other people who are addicted to opioids, his addiction is not his fault. He is a victim of big pharma and irresponsible doctors. This could have been any one of you if you had been in an accident or had surgery that left you with some amount of chronic pain. Implying that they are stupid for taking the drug, or that they should be locked up or even shot, shows either a complete lack of understanding of what this crisis is all about or a complete lack of empathy on your part. Either way, those of you making those type of comments are only making yourselves look very bad.

  4. Disgusting fucking junkies. I have zero respect and sympathy for drug addicts that don't at least make a real effort to get clean and live a productive lifestyle. I'm aware its not their fault. Heroin in a very addictive substance and is hard to kick, I've had friends turn to thieves and liars to support their filthy life-ruining habit and no matter how much I or their loved ones tried to help, they went back to that lifestyle because some people have zero integrity and no will-power to change. It is definitely possible to overcome this affliction and there's a lot of people out there who are willing to help those that genuinely want to change. But you can't help those that don't want to help themselves. I do not wish death upon any human being, but some junkies are better off dead in a dumpster. Especially scumbags who consciously litter and spread disease and potential drug exposure around an area filled with innocent school children. Sorry not sorry

  5. Jesus, seeing these lost souls. Am I unusual that I can use my hydrocodone without wanting more and more and more? Back back, bad knees, been taking pain meds for a decade now without incident. Lots of pain, but I just deal with it. I use the absolute minimum to be able to function.

  6. These poor white people. Black drug dealers are forcing them to shoot up. They just need help. It's their country. Jail doesn't do a drug head any good. Humanize these poor people!

  7. Sure doctors prescribe that shit but who forces you to take them fucking idiots if you have a sane mind you should know the effects of taking medication like that no one forced you to swallow the damn pill

  8. I'm a heroin addict. Now "recovering heroin addict." And this is not a health problem like some people like to say. Poor decisions and somtimes circumstance can lead up to addiction, this isn't a "disease" or whatever people like to call it. It is just simply heroin addiction, just let it be heroin addiction. Nothing we do can change that fact.


  10. Those invested in this topic should keep aware of / become involved in "President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis". Their efforts will likely affect all sufferers of chronic pain seeking treatment. Our voices need to be represented to ensure empathy for our needs is preserved.

  11. We need to legalize everything so that the poor drug user can get harder drugs directly from hes doctor. That is how you fix the problem. Making toxic shit more accessible. Dont worry, if it was harmful, it wouldnt be legal! /sarcasm

  12. treating addiction as a health problem and not a criminal problem, some form of health care for everyone so poor people can get medical help with out thousands of dollars in medical bills, legal marijuana will help some people get off of hard drugs. these things would at least put a huge speed bump in the road we are heading down

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