The Minford High School Class of 2000, in rural Minford, Ohio, began its freshman year as a typical class. It had its jocks and its cheerleaders, its slackers and its overachievers.
But by the time the group entered its final year, its members said, painkillers were nearly ubiquitous, found in classrooms, school bathrooms and at weekend parties.
Over the next decade, Scioto County, which includes Minford, would become ground zero in the state’s fight against opioids. It would lead Ohio with its rates of fatal drug overdoses, drug-related incarcerations and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
To understand both the scope and the devastating consequences of what is now a public health crisis, we talked to dozens of members of the Class of 2000. Many opened up to us about struggles with addiction, whether their own or their relatives’. They told us about the years lost to getting high and in cycling in and out of jail, prison and rehab. They mourned the three classmates whose addictions killed them.
In all of the interviews, one thing was clear: Opioids have spared relatively no one in Scioto County; everyone appears to know someone whose life has been affected by addiction.
The opioid epidemic is personal to Minford’s Class of 2000: 3 classmates died from drug use, at least 15 have struggled with addiction and nearly 75% of those we interviewed have family members who are addicted or in recovery. https://t.co/OqSZ5gONMY
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 2, 2019