Life After Overdose

Ohio is at the center of the country’s opioid crisis, with one of the highest overdose death rates in the nation. Some parts of the state are seeing glimmers of hope: the city of Dayton halved its overdose deaths last year, and other cities are trying to emulate that success. But reducing deaths is only one piece of tackling the crisis for Ohioans; families across the state struggle with the painful aftermath of loved ones who overdose, and survive.

The Takeaway crosses the state for a look at the opioid crisis in Ohio through the eyes of two women who have experienced overdose and lived, and the different trajectories their lives have taken in the aftermath.

On day one, we meet April Erion, a woman in her 20s living in Dayton, and Lauren Hamilton, a woman in her 40s in Cleveland. We take a closer look at the state of the crisis in these two cities, and hear firsthand what it’s like to survive an opioid overdose, sometimes multiple times.

We go to Columbus, Ohio on day two, to speak with an ER doctor who deals with opioid overdoses in Franklin County, where overdose deaths are on the rise. He talks to us about the science of overdose, the physical consequences of multiple overdoses, and efforts he and other doctors are making to keep people from overdosing at all. Then we head back up to Dayton to hear about the efforts of officials there, and how they have led to such a different outcome for Dayton than other parts of the state.

Overdoses can take a tremendous toll on families, and on day three The Takeaway talks to the mothers of April and Lauren about trying to find resources, and trying to keep their families from breaking apart to keep their daughters alive.

And in the final installment of our series, we look ahead to the future for April and Lauren. For April, many doors have closed because of a criminal record associated with her drug use. Lauren is back to a career as an attorney, and takes us through a new non-denominational sober club she is part of, with friends.

Music composed/produced by J. CowitTheme music by Dolly Trolly.