Columbus, Ohio, is often labeled as “middle America” and has been a testing ground for many companies with new products — a perfect place to get an accurate read on what America thinks. And it’s overwhelmed by heroin.
On Sunday, Jan. 24, the team at 60 Minutes rebroadcasted a piece on heroin use in this heartland of America, showing its spread across the nation. Heroin is no longer an urban problem. In fact the death rate from drug overdoses is now higher in rural areas than in large metropolitan areas. Maine has been hit just like Ohio.
What follows are excerpts from the 60 Minutes TV segment. We hope you take a few minutes and watch the piece where loved ones and people experiencing addiction share their stories.
- Tracy Morrison is one of the several brave parents that spoke to the team at 60 Minutes, telling her story and sharing her grief. Tracy said:
Because we don’t throw diabetics who sit on the couch eating Bon Bons and smoke and they weigh 300 pounds in prison. We don’t belittle them, and there’s not a big stigma; we don’t do that to people that chain smoke and develop lung cancer. It’s a chronic relapsing brain disease, period, amen, end of story, and we need to accept it — even if it makes people uncomfortable. And if people don’t like that, I’m sorry.
- Tyler Campbell could be almost anyone’s son, brother, best friend. He came upon his addiction as a result of an injury.
The star of the high school football team, he went on to play Division I at the University of Akron. For Tyler, heroin wasn’t a party drug. His parents, Wayne and Christy Campbell, say his heroin habit grew from his addiction to opiate painkillers, prescribed legally after he injured his shoulder.
Bill Whitaker from 60 Minutes talked with Tyler’s parents:
Bill Whitaker: What were the pills?
Christy Campbell: It was–
Wayne Campbell: Vicodin.
Christy Campbell: Vicodin. Yeah–
Wayne Campbell: He had 60 Vicodin for his shoulder surgery.
Bill Whitaker: That’s a normal prescription?
Wayne Campbell: For that procedure.
It’s easy for kids to sell their excess pills. They’re popular recreational drugs in high schools and colleges — so MUCH in demand that one pill can cost up to $80.
Pill addicts like Tyler often switch to heroin because it’s a cheaper opiate, with a bigger high. Tyler was in and out of rehab four times. The night he came home the last time, he couldn’t fight the uncontrollable urge that is heroin addiction.
He shot up in his bedroom and died of a heroin overdose. He wasn’t the only addict on his college football team.
Wayne Campbell: Unfortunately, the quarterback died four months after Tyler.
Click here to watch the full piece from 60 Minutes. We are thankful to the 60 Minutes team and the families who told their story. These are good children and great parents that struggle each and every day to stay afloat. They want to get better, they try and try. What can we do? Support and care for others, and educate ourselves on what others are going through. It could be us, it could be our son or daughter, mother or father.