'A Cancer in the Heartland': Geraldo Examines Ohio's Opioid Epidemic, Talks to Inmates
This week on "Fox & Friends," Geraldo Rivera is giving viewers an up-close look at how an Ohio community is combating the opioid crisis.
Rivera described a tragic cycle in which people often become addicted to prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin, then move on to heroin and end up overdosing. Many times the drug is laced with fentanyl to make it more powerful.
On Wednesday, Rivera shared his interviews with law enforcement officers and inmates at Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, many of whom are incarcerated on drug-related charges.
Rivera spoke to a 22-year-old woman named Mary who revealed that she became addicted to painkillers after she broke her back.
"Then I got worse from there. I went to heroin, fentanyl," Mary said.
She said she doesn't blame others for her mistakes, and she is confident that she can change her life for the better when she is released soon.
Rivera lamented that stories like Mary's are "so common," describing the opioid epidemic as "a cancer in the heartland."
Rivera also spoke to Sheriff Rob Streck, who said the goal at the correctional facility is to help and rehabilitate drug offenders so they don't end up back behind bars.
"People who are addicted to these kind of drugs, it's a hard thing to get them off of, and it's a hard road for them," Streck said. "So we've got to try to provide them the best resources we can."
Rivera emphasized that the county has drastically reduced overdose deaths in the past few years using a variety of measures, including drug treatment centers, more police task forces, counseling and education campaigns about fentanyl.
"It's a measurable triumph, relatively speaking, but there's a long way to go," he said, adding that Dayton has filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, distributors and pain specialists for their role in creating the opioid epidemic.
Watch the powerful report above and see Part 1.