America’s heroin and opioid crisis has been called the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. FRONTLINE goes inside the crisis and places it in a fresh and provocative light — telling individual stories of addiction, but also investigating how the heroin epidemic as we know it came to be.
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To make Chasing Heroin, Marcela Gaviria and her team, including correspondent Martin Smith, spent nearly a year tracing the lives of addicts like Kristina, who at age 21 is seven years into her heroin addiction and has been living on the streets for three; Johnny, who started using to cope with the breakup of his marriage; and Cari, a suburban mom who led a double life as a heroin dealer.
But in addition to these raw stories of addiction, the documentary investigates big pharma’s unprecedented push to popularize opioid painkillers like Oxycontin and explores how America is rethinking incarceration as a response to drug addiction.
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Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.