Welcome to the second edition of VICE News Issues, our semi-regular look at some of the most important topics in the world. Our subject this time is the opioid crisis that has already killed more than 600,000 Americans and could kill half a million more over the next decade, a death toll that rivals the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This unprecedented public health emergency is forcing us to rethink how we approach addiction, and a nationwide movement toward recovery is already underway.
To see how ordinary people are responding to the crisis, we spent time with college students struggling with addiction on campus; followed moms who are trying their hardest not to pass their addiction onto their babies; learned the science behind what makes opioids so hard to quit; visited two towns taking opposite approaches to getting residents into treatment; and met one family that’s taking a DIY approach to rehab. And we compared the national policy President Trump could adopt to the best wisdom from the states.