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tv   Effects of Opioid Addiction Abuse on Families  CSPAN  October 18, 2017 9:26pm-9:48pm EDT

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in a blink. no warning. i'm trying to tell them, this is the problem that this is what i see from the patient perspective, the policy perspective, the advocacy perspective, you have to improvise. that's what will make it the ideal provider for veterans who've gone to conduct and sacrificed. the senate health committee will examine the link between hope choices and health outcomes and costs. watch live coverage thursday starting at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span. in the evening, for our president obama campaign for lieutenant governor running for
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virginia governor. governor. live coverage of the richmond rally begins 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. watch both on were the c-span radio app. next, before among opioid addiction and th the affect it s on families. parents of a young man who died from a heroin overdose talked about their experience of losing a child and addiction. we will also hear from the senator portman and mansion and later a panel of journalists that cover the epidemic. epidemic. the discussion was hosted by the washington post. >> good morning, everyone. i'm lenny bernstein, the health and medicine reporter at the "washington post." i ai'm going to introduce to you today todd and evelyn, the parents of thad berkey who died
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of a drug overdose and ellis lee, the journalist who made the remarkable video that you just saw. [applause] can you tell us a little bit about how the addiction began and how it progressed? >> in january of 2015, he broke his hand and foot and we took him to the emergency room and everything and he got prescribed painkillers. we had no idea that he got addicted. now around october of 2015, his mom found the walk pills in hism
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and this is when he told us about his addiction to painkillers. i looked it up online and educated myself a little bit about it and the that and then k upstairs to the top and yelled out called him i'm sorry, i love you. >> he was on it in an attempt to beat his painkiller addiction. >> i said i love you and if anything happened to you, i wouldn't want to live, and then, of course we had him in rehab two different times. the first time he was doing really good, wanted to get clean and because it was good about going to meetings and everythi
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everything. the first time he went to rehab he was able to get the blocker but it only lasts for like 30 days or so. i called around to different places and couldn't find anyplace to subscribe him to that. call it a place in milton that the only prescribed to patients who went to treatment at a treatment center so i wasn't able to get it for him and he relapsed. >> relapse is common. when he came out of rehab, were you hopeful, what did you think might have been? >> well, i thought this was just a bump in the road because he really wanted to get better and
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it was just totally out of our family, our realm, i'm going to say it, it just doesn't happen to us. >> when he did relapse, what did you see? >> behaviors that i just said you know, you are reminding me of when, and he was like no, no. >> was he back to using pain pills or was he using street drugs? what finally turned up fax delete or >> when he didn't have pain pills, that is when he turned to hear -- heroine.
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when he took him back again, he didn't do as good when he came home as he did the first time. he wasn't as excited, he had drug courts coming up and down d the anxiety and everything and then about three days -- i think drug courts would have been good because it would have held them accountable, there would be structure in his life because he would have to go to so many meetings, so many groups and be held accountable. but three days before he would have had drug court is when i woke up to my wife screaming in the morning wake up, wake up. i went over and as soon as the e
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top and it's like i knew what was going on in my head. i jumped out of bed, dialed 911, ran to his room and he wasn't breathing and he was blue lying on the bed. i had the phone in one hand and grabbed him and drug him to the floor and started chest compressions and then the emergency police and emergency personnel arrived. my wife tried but it didn't do anything. >> the antidote that reverses an overdose. >> yes, and emergency personnel worked on him for 45 minutes while me and my wife sat downstairs in the kitchen and they finally came down and said there's nothing more they can do, so we had to sit there and wait on the coroner to pronounce or some dead then we went in another room while they brought his body down.
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>> .exe overdosed on? >> heroine. >> do you know how he obtained his? >> not exactly. >> the grief group, can you tell us about the years since he started? sort of a ridiculous question, but what has it been like for you? >> my sister-in-law shared about a group she went to years ago in indiana called grief share and they have been a local church was one that had started up and we -- it was a 13 week thing. we jumped in at about week four, that was 11 days gone and that
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was helpful to go through i don't know if the instructions were just to go through with other people through their grief and talk about it. it's a faith-based program, so that was a good fit for us and as we went along, i thought okay, i think we are doing okay. we are doing things the right way. then we went to an event, saving lives for zachary, and met david told us about a group that meets and we've bee been going monthlo that and it's, you know, we
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criecrytogether and laugh togetd we all have unfortunately one thing in common. >> talking with all these folks, have you learned anything about grief, about moving on, about this particular way of losing a child? there is no way i think to describe of losing a child, in this epidemic has it been helpful to meet with other families? >> yes. one thing i learned right away is there's nothing i could have done. >> in the beginning you were pretty guilty about his death but they were telling you you couldn't have. >> right, there's nothing i could do from 1994 to october 2,
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2016. nothing i could have done to change. but it's hard as a mom. >> you spend months on this video, went up to williamsport and met with the peace folks and attended the group. you've been with them long after words. what was your ambition when you started, and what did you find out as >> i think it was important andd this is something we discussed early on, that we wanted to show the faces of the people that have been impacted the most by this epidemic. it's easy to talk about numbers and statistics. it's something that we wanted to showcase and sell when we first went down to williamsport, she
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told us about this group and it sounded like a good place to meet more families whose story was shared the same so when we first went to the group therapy, it was in the backyard, it was a beautiful evening and it was heartbreaking hearing all these degrees and going to the runs seeing how many people have been infected in the community via be epidemic and i am curious to hear because you were also at the run. oreview taken by surprise how many people does have impacted and touched or was this something that you were aware of even asked your own son was going through his?
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>> last year was the first year they did the five k. and it happened to be about three weeks after he passed. my sister who was in the williamsburg area said my friends want to start a team for him. so there were probably 30, my nephews and friends, family and i think for the first time ever there were 600 people at the five k. and ten k.. so this year, you know, i think it surpassed that. and yes i was surprised because everybody has a story. whether it affects them directly as it did us, or it's a nephew,
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cousin, friend, grandchild. >> it seems like there's no more than 1 degree of separation at this point in the epidemic. if you don't know someone who's tried it personally, you have a neighbor or cousin or nephew or someone who knows someone is dying. >> and so many stories are the same about how it starts with painkillers. i've heard so many stories like that that starts off with painkillers and progressives to heroine or other substances. >> was his injury football injury? >> it was an accident. >> independent pain pills were prescribed at the hospital.
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>> were you surprised by anything you found him doing the work on this? >> i think i was surprised by how many people throughout the race honestly. that did take me back a little bit. i think especially when you are physically in that space and see everyone there and how many have been impacted. and welcome support is the home of little league baseball. so you go there and there are statues of little kids playing baseball. it's as american high as you can get. so it is kind of disconcerting to be in while you see all these families have been impacted by this epidemic. >> at the moment, there are three u.s. senators waiting to come out here and speak on the opioid epidemic. there's a whole bunch of folks here from the dc area who may be
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able in their own corner of the world to do something. as parents of someone who passed on overdosed on opioids, what do you want them to do, not speaking as policymakers or anything, but wha it needs to be done to the end of the curve on the opioid epidemic? >> well, as people have seen from the 60 minutes episode, the one bill needs to change command for the life of me, i cannot understand why attorneys for the dea switched sides. it is unethical and immoral for them to switch sides to be attorneys and then to be
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attorneys for the big drug companies. that's something i cannot understand. >> when i was first told about it a couple of months ago, i thought it a work at a federal prison, i'm against anything that ties the hands of another federal law-enforcement agency to their job. >> how about treatment. was it difficult for him to get treatment? we already pointed out that it wasn't the most effective. >> we were so naïve we didn't know how to do anything like okay find him a place to go. but our daughter is quite the researcher and found he'd love
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to lift weights and was at the gym every day. she said i found one that has a little gem so everything just fell into place and it wasn't terribly far from our home we just wish the end results would have been better >> do you think there's a reason why he relapsed twice? >> now i think maybe the anxiety for drug court because he had friends that he met through
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things that mayb maybe haven't e well and he didn't want to go back to jail. >> i see that you have a tattoo, do you mind showing that? >> this is a portrait that i have done i think in december and then this is the first tattoo that he had for switzerland. my son is always with me an in y heart and here on my arm and some of his ashes are here.
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when we travel places sometimes if we go someplace to spread his ashes like at his grandparents house different places and pennsylvania but there was a little bit left in here so i spread them out and put his ashes inside of it. >> she didn't like to travel so much, so it's kind of like one of those gotcha. at least for me. [laughter] >> that's all the time we have for this session. >> hopefully it is effective in the war on opioids.
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thank you all very much for listening. [applause] in


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