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Poisoned: America’s Fentanyl Crisis l ABCNL

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In the final part of a series, ABC News’ Bob Woodruff explores potential solutions to America‚Äôs deadly fentanyl crisis, including a visit to the first harm reduction clinic in the country.

The drug epidemic in america hit a tragic milestone last week with the cdc reporting that more than 107 000 americans died of drug overdoses last year that’s a new high surpassing the previous record by 15 percent and much of it comes from opioid overdoses including from the drug fentanyl tonight abc’s bob woodruff takes a look at efforts to try to combat this deadly

Epidemic it’s the final part of our series poisoned america’s fentanyl crisis in my home state of kentucky overdose deaths increased by 54 in washington lawmakers from across the country are trying to fix the fentanyl crisis sweeping through their communities the opioid epidemic destroys everything in its path but these debates are often only about stopping the

Flow of fentanyl into america until we resolve the situation in our southern border anything we do is ridiculous and onto the streets law enforcement shouldn’t have to hold strategy meetings and brainstorming sessions about how to put murderers behind bars in riverside california sheriff chad bianco has created his own fentanyl task force treating fentanyl dealers

As murderers if somebody supplies somebody with fentanyl without their knowledge is that homicide it’s a second degree murder i get anywhere between 50 and 100 calls a week we’re exhausted but it’s a investigation worth doing we had a local girl the drug dealer delivered what she thought was a percocet pill and she died listening to that mother cry and tell me

That her daughter did not overdose that she was poisoned i will i will never get over that i will never ever get over that but curbing supply is often a complex game of whack-a-mole one source replaced by another an arrested smuggler replaced by another it’s all just one part of this crisis what about the demand the truth is one in 14 americans are suffering from

Some form of addiction and after five decades of the war on drugs the streets are filled with more illegal narcotics than ever before this fentanyl crisis only became possible because america for so long ignored its opioid crisis and the millions of people wrapped up in it i stopped for many years i just relapsed three months ago i hadn’t used in 10 years this

Is ryan for years he’s been living with opioid addiction now fentanyl has entered his world and this is the pendleton this is not pure fentanyl though just so you know because if it was it would be like that much is too much despite the risks for many people like him after taking it a drug so potent and addictive fentanyl isn’t everything now fentanyl becomes their

Drug of something choice you can be just gone there’s a lot of people that died like that so that’s why he’s here in harlem where sam rivera runs the nation’s first overdose prevention clinic the aim is not to stop people from using drugs but to supervise them when they do offering medical support now holistics program we have hep a and b vaccines we have a nurse

On site five days a week they decide what it is they want and safety these are all the syringes we have we have the alcohol pads these are the fentanyl testing shifts the goal is harm reduction to prevent overdose deaths we’ve had a number of overdoses today seems like a potential bad batch when there is a bad batch what typically is the cause oh it’s fentanyl 100

This place has people that can give you some narcan and bring you back right away we’re there when the overdose happens and we’re there immediately i can observe you from the mirror i can see when your head starts to lean we’re using agitation we’re using oxygen a couple times they saved my life despite the overdoses not a single person has ever died here in fact

Studies show similar programs in other countries have successfully reduced fatal overdoses and increased access to health services like rehab beautiful hurting people are coming in with those drugs to use them safely and stay alive they’re going to use i have people in that room right now who want to stop they’re right there saying it i want to stop but you know

But at least now they’re talking about it but back in nashville where our journey began there are more traditional approaches i came here to get you high but the good kind of high naturally high right so phil bogart a former rock star i have almost 14 years clean and sober right that’s not bad is getting creative what’s your happy thought today princess then we get

To make music we’re going to do another piano part this is rock to recovery music as therapy we’ve got people playing keyboard parts and i’m on a guitar and we’re going to write a course together that we all sing along to you know an hour and a half passes by and we lived in the moment and hopefully we got some people to get on the other side of i can’t i won’t i’m

Not able to there is no easy answer when it comes to stopping this growing crisis fentanyl is poisoning our friends our families our children but everyone we met agreed that the first step is to spread the word we’re trying to bring awareness i’ll never bring my boys back and i know that they’re irreplaceable but if we can save lives you know i’m pretty shocked

That everybody’s very honest to talk about all this maybe it’ll save somebody’s life if it helps just one person then the whole thing’s worthwhile the most important bulwark that we have is the urge toward community that’s how we survived as a species you were always better off together a thousand miles starts with a single step all you got to do is just keep going

All about taking that first step and be sure to watch bob’s full report on this crisis poisoned america’s fentanyl crisis it debuts at 8 eastern 9 pacific right after prime on abc news live hi everyone george stephanopoulos here thanks for checking out the abc news youtube channel if you’d like to get more videos show highlights and watch live event coverage click

On the right over here to subscribe to our channel and don’t forget to download the abc news app for breaking news alerts thanks for watching

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Poisoned: America's Fentanyl Crisis l ABCNL By ABC News