ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas has been doing in-depth reporting across the country on the opioid epidemic, working with ABC affiliates to determine how many overdoses occurred in a week’s time — the results were worse than he ever expected.
Thomas told TheWrap “the stunning availability of opioids–be it painkillers, heroin or fentanyl” was simply shocking.
“We were on one raid in Arizona with the DEA and Tempe police and authorities recovered what they believe was $1 million worth of heroin in a working class neighborhood that could be anywhere in the U.S.,” Thomas said.
The ease of obtaining the drugs wasn’t the only thing that stunned Thomas. When speaking with family members, health care professionals and law enforcement officials, Thomas was surprised that “human loss” is such a common occurrence when studying the opioid epidemic. The crisis kills 91 Americans per day, according to their findings.
“According to the CDC, more than 30,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2015. So many lives lost and so many being ruined,” he said.
Different states have different methods of reporting and it takes time for toxicology tests, making tracking opioid overdoses extremely complex — so the number might be even higher than reported.
Thomas feels that “aggressive enforcement” is the key to stop the problem, but “many in law enforcement admit you can’t arrest your way out of this crisis.”
“There is a need for treatment and a greater push for more public awareness among many other factors,” he said.
The special edition of “Nightline” airs on Wednesday, Aug. 23 on ABC.
16 'Morning Joe' Trump Insults That Got Personal, From 'Schmuck' to 'Jackass' (Photos)
President Trump recently received a ton of criticism for sending out a pair of tweets about MSNBC's "Morning Joe" hosts “Psycho” Joe Scarborough and “low I.Q. Crazy” Mika Brzezinski.
“She was bleeding badly from a face-lift,” he wrote of an encounter with Brzezinski he claims he had in Florida weeks before his inauguration.
While nothing can justify the president mocking a woman's appearance, the "Morning Joe" duo have been attacking Trump for months.
Check out 16 recent times the MSNBC stars said something that Trump could have taken personally.
They compared him to Kim Jong-un
“This is unprecedented, to have a president who behaves this way,” Brzezinski said on June 23. “It does feel like a developing dictatorship."
Brzezinski said what Bill Clinton was to sex, Trump is to "decency"
"What Bill Clinton did to the issue of sex to an entire generation, I believe this president is doing on issues of decency, on issues of conspiracy theories, on issues of fake news," Brzezinski said in June 15. "I think it's that simple and we're desensitized if we even argue it."
"If the president seems delusional about his accomplishments, you can point no further than that room," Brzezinski said in June 14. "There are no real men in the inner circle of the White House... none at all."
“Donald Trump, again, being a schmuck, thinking he can buy people’s integrity by inviting them over to the White House and wowing them,” Scarborough said on June 7 when discussing a dinner party at the White House. “That’s how he thinks. I know that first hand.”
Scarborough said Trump “is not a sane, rational human being”
“If any CEO, in a Fortune 500 company, was behaving this way, he or she would be removed immediately… they would take him out, he would have psychiatric evaluation and he would no longer be the CEO,” Scarborough said on June 6.
Scarborough called Trump a “bumbling dope” on May 11 because of the way a meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister was handled.
“Looking at the front pages of the newspapers here… The Wall Street Journal also, you look, of course, at pictures. The shameful picture where the United States press corps was kept out but the Russians were allowed in,” Scarborough said while holding up the paper.
Scarborough slammed Trump on March 31, saying that Russians are lucky that POTUS is “stupid enough” to pick up their fake news.
“We’re obsessed on how the Russians have hacked, how the Russians have tried to impact this, how the Russians have tried to impact the White House,” Scarborough said. “We’re really just playing into their hands.”