As Campaigns Leave New Hampshire, The Heroin Epidemic Remains

The Takeaway

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The United States is in the midst of a growing drug epidemic. Heroin use among young adults has doubled in the last decade, though the problem reaches individuals of every age group, gender, and income level.

"Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin)," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One state with an acute sense of this crisis is New Hampshire, where rates of drug overdoses and deaths have skyrocketed. At least 385 New Hampshirites died from drug overdoses in 2015, according to the most recent data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Drug deaths have surpassed the number of traffic deaths in the Granite State.

Todd Zwillich spent Sunday morning with one family who knows all to well the impact of addiction. Bill and Jo-Ann Brewster both work in healthcare and have seen the devastating consequences of the heroin epidemic on the job. But they also have deeply personal connection to the issue: Their son Zach Brewster has struggled for years with addiction. 

"I think years ago the candidates probably would never have mentioned [heroin] because it would be a black mark," Jo-Ann tells The Takeaway. "But today people are coming out and accepting it and realizing it's not just that poor homeless kid on the street. These are people, and it's stealing all of our lives."