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It Hasn't Always Been This Way: How Opioids Became a Killer

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Book cover

More than 70,000 people died from drug overdoeses in 2017, making ovrdoses a greater killer than gun violence or car crashes in the U.S.. Of the more than 70,000 lives lost to drugs in 2017, over 68 percent were opioid-related, solidfying opioids, including synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, as a growing killer in the United States. 

On this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by Chris McGreal, whose new book "American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts" explores the history of the opioid epidemic in the United States through indepth research and compelling personal stories. The book primarily focuses on the town of Willmington, West Virginia. As a state, West Virginia is known to have the highest overdose rate in the country.

McGreal is reporter for The Guardian, where he has worked as a correspondent in Jeruselum, Johannasberg, and Washington D.C..

Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River