We have lots of cases of opioid abuse and Hepatitis A here in Louisville. We also have a lot of treatment resources, and a big enough population that you can go for treatment without the whole city knowing. That's not true in rural counties.
Sitting in our recording studio, we're within about five miles of 15 different drug addiction recovery facilities. From our station, it’s a 17-minute walk to someplace you can get a Hepatitis A vaccine, even if you don’t have health insurance.
We're in downtown Louisville. But the opioid and Hep A epidemics look very different outside of big cities.
In small towns, where everyone knows everyone else, the stigma attached to seeking treatment for substance use disorders can be intense. Plenty of evidence says needle exchange programs help prevent the spread of disease, but they’re politically unpopular.
Mary Meehan and Aaron Payne cover health issues for the Ohio Valley ReSource.
“To talk to people in active addiction is difficult because they don’t want to be associated with the opioid epidemic,” Aaron said. “Even people in recovery sometimes are hesitant to talk about their experience. They’re still afraid of the stigma, so it can be difficult to find people to talk to that have lived through this disease.”
They join us on today’s show to talk about their experiences covering the opioid epidemic and related issues in rural communities.
About the Show
Recut is a weekly podcast taking a closer look at one of the stories we’re covering at 89.3 WFPL News Louisville, with the reporter who covered it. We pull back the curtain on the news process, show our work and break down the story.