America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Drug overdoses from both illegal drugs and prescription painkillers now account for more accidental deaths than motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more deaths due to opioid overdoses than any other time in history, killing 78 people every day. Those numbers have nearly quadrupled since 1999. In Kentucky, overdoses from opioids kill more than 1,000 people every year.
Inside Opioid Addiction, a new ongoing KET initiative, serves as an in-depth source of information about the epidemic via programming and online resources.
The initiative’s website, KET.org/opioids, will include archived KET and national programs addressing America’s growing opioid problem. These include a series of One to One with Bill Goodman programs premiering this month that feature interviews recorded at the 2016 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, organized by U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers and Kentucky-based Operation UNITE. In these interviews, local and national drug policy experts, scientists, and leaders – including Rep. Rogers, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy; and Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – discuss ways to curb the alarming addiction statistics.
Throughout the year, KET’s Kentucky Health, Connections with Renee Shaw, Kentucky Tonight, Comment on Kentucky and Legislative Update will all address opioid addiction and related legislation, in addition to national series that tackle the issue, such as FRONTLINE. After airing, these programs will be available for online streaming via the initiative’s website.
The initiative also includes plans for a KET documentary about Kentucky’s battle against the opioid epidemic, which is scheduled to premiere in early 2017.
KET’s Inside Opioid Addiction is funded in part by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and facebook.com/KET and at KET.org.