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2017 Murrow Awards: Continuing Coverage

Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio contain news of lives lost to opioids – both prescribed medication and illegal drugs that include heroin. It’s a public health crisis that knows no bounds. Those affected aren’t defined by geography, race, gender, level of education or income. And, it’s an issue that has found an unfortunate stronghold in Ohio – which has found itself at or near the top of national lists of opioid overdoses and deaths.

WKSU journalists had been reporting on the opioid crisis for years as it began to emerge in the urban, suburban and rural areas the station reaches. In 2017, the station embarked on a multi-part series, which evolved into ongoing and expanded coverage, spurred by an explosion of deaths as the powerful synthetic opioid and elephant sedative Carfentanil found its way to the region. Reporters covered issues related to using the drug Narcan to reverse overdoses, the increased strain on stretched-thin first responders – and the community, judicial and healthcare response to this frightening (and seemingly endless) new wave of addiction.