Seattle radio producer Anna Boiko-Weyrauch was tired of reading stories about the opioid crisis that discussed suffering more than solutions, and so she decided to do something about it.
"There ARE solutions!" Boiko-Weyrauch, the host of Finding Fixes—a podcast from InvestigateWest that focuses on the opioid crisis in Snohomish County—told me in an email. "And communities across the United States are trying them out. The thing is, the solutions are complicated and stopping the opioid epidemic doesn't come down to one thing. Solutions range from preventing addiction, to reducing harm from heroin and opioid use, to expanding evidence-based treatment, and preventing overdoses."
Boiko-Weyrauch says that during her reporting, she was "surprised how complicated the opioid epidemic is and how deeply misguided and flat out inaccurate society's misconceptions of people with addiction are. (For example, that using drugs is a choice or people with addiction have something wrong with them/are immoral and should be allowed to die.) There's a lot to unpack, so by dedicating a podcast to just looking at solutions to the opioid epidemic, I knew we'd have a lot to dig into and we could have a big impact helping reduce stigma and reframe how the public understands people with addiction."
She was also surprised to learn that not everyone who suffers from addiction eventually overdoses and dies. "Addiction + overdose = death is a common trope, but actually, addiction is a treatable disease," she said. "I've been surprised how many people living among us have been able to transform themselves and their lives by getting appropriate treatment. Why don't we hear more success stories? That's why in the podcast we spend so much time with people in recovery, hearing their stories."
The podcast will be available online, or, if you're in town, you can join Boiko-Weyrauch and co-host Kyle Norris at their launch party tonight. (RSVP here.)