Amid the most widespread and deadly drug epidemic ever to sweep the United States, the long-fought “War on Drugs” is transforming into a war on addiction -- and NBC10 has spent the last five months on the front lines getting in-depth look at this crisis affecting every community across the Delaware Valley.
Monday night at 7 p.m. we aired Generation Addicted, a raw and emotional look at the young lives and families being torn apart by the heroin and opioid epidemic. The half-hour exclusive special report, supported by Mirmont Treatment Center, is the culmination of five months of reporting by Vince Lattanzio, Denise Nakano and Morgan Zalot. It is complemented by an extensive multimedia presentation that will appear on NBC10.com. Robust social content will also be presented on NBC10's social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social content includes a personal facebook LIVE with Vince Lattanzio that following the first airing of Generation Addicted on Monday evening. You can rewatch the entire special above as well.
Generation Addicted transports viewers into the tragic world of heroin and opiate addiction, placing them side-by-side with young people battling addiction, parents fighting to save their kids, police and policymakers searching for solutions, and doctors racing to save lives.
“The reason we’re doing [this story] is to fulfill a commitment and viewer responsibility to raise awareness about an epidemic that is impacting individuals and families across the tri-state,” NBC10 President and General Manager Ric Harris said. “It’s important to us to help our viewers understand the impact of this epidemic and what they can do to help themselves and their neighbors.”
The in-depth, multi-platform exclusive is the second of its kind launched by NBC10, after Faces of Homeless Youth last year provided a look at homelessness among teenagers and young adults in Philadelphia. Faces of Homeless Youth inspired tens of thousands of dollars in donations and hours of volunteer work at Covenant House Pennsylvania, a crisis shelter for young adults, and played a role in U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) calling on Congress to approve $42.5 million in new funding for youth homelessness.
NBC10 Digital exclusives like Generation Addicted align with the station’s larger mission to serve the community by keeping viewers informed about issues that influence their lives.
“It’s a great example of our commitment to telling stories across multiple platforms in order to reach and engage the people most affected,” Harris said.
In Generation Addicted, viewers meet Michael Miller, a 22-year-old who graduated from Philadelphia’s prestigious Central High School with honors and began pursuing a degree in engineering at Drexel University, only to find himself hooked on pain pills -- and later, heroin -- his life and dreams derailed. They’ll hear the heartbreaking story of Patty DiRenzo, who fought tirelessly to save her son, Sal, from the grips of heroin, but lost him in the end. There are also stories of hope: of Carol Rostucher, who has made it her life’s mission to help addicted people since her son beat his own addiction, and of scores of law-enforcement officers who are shifting their strategy around addiction from handcuffs to humanity by offering people help instead of punishment.
Those are just a few of nearly 80 people in 18 cities large and small across 4 states and the District of Columbia, with whom NBC10’s team spent months with to tell the story of addiction in the most meaningful way possible.
Along with the special report, NBC10 will provide viewers a platform to chime in and share their own stories of their struggles with and triumphs over addiction via the NBC10 app and on social media using the hashtag #AddictionIs.
Immediately following the special, people joined Vince Lattanzio on NBC10's Facebook page to continue the conversation and chat LIVE.