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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Man Arrested In "Heinous" Mississippi Stabbings; GOP Slams Dems Over "KKK Values" Remark; Libertarian VP Candidate Talks To CNN; Libertarians Pushing To Get On Debate Stage; National Day Of Mourning For Earthquake Victims; Discussion of Campaign Happenings; Examining Increase in Herroin Overdoses. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired August 27, 2016 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[08:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lived their lives to try to make the world better for the people who have nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police ten water rescues occurred overnight in Kansas City, a flash flood emergency was issued for the metro region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We are so grateful to have your company as always. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. Let's start with the arrest in Mississippi. Authorities describe this heinous crime, two nuns stabbed to death in their home.
PAUL: Polo Sandoval is following this story. Wondering what you're learning, if anything, how police got to this man, in particular?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Victor and Christi, that is the main question is how investigators were actually led to this man. We do understand that he was consider a person of interest early in the investigation.
But we do know this morning that the community of Lexington, which is about an hour's drive north of Jackson, is left mourning the loss of two women that gave so much to their community.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Margaret and I have worked together for many years. We just see patients and do what needs to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is one of the poorest counties in all of Mississippi. It rivals the bottom place of all sorts of statistics.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Margaret Held and Paula Merrill, Catholic nuns and nurse practitioners were found stabbed to death in their rural Mississippi home on Thursday. Police say there was evidence of a break-in. The car that belonged to one of the victims was found on an abandoned road less than a mile from their home. This morning 46-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders is under arrest facing two counts of capital murder.
Police say he was identified early in the investigation as a person of interest after what they call an exhaustive interview, he was charged.
Authorities have not revealed a motive in the killing or discussed any possible relationship between Sanders and the nuns, but they do say, quote, "This heinous crime has been solved."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sad that people come to this, whatever motivates them. I mean, you know, my aunt and Sister Margaret, they lived their lives to try to make the world better for the people who have nothing.
SANDOVAL: Those in the community who knew the two nuns described them as outgoing and compassionate, always willing to lend a helping hand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody was the same in their eyes. All you had to do is go to them, ask them for help and they would help you any way they could. It really pained the community.
SANDOVAL: And so now the community prepares to say goodbye and to remember these two women. We do understand that there is a wake scheduled for tomorrow and a memorial mass is expected to happen on be Monday.
Meanwhile, that lingering question, Victor and Christie, is a motive. What is it? At this point investigators say it's too early to call it a robbery. There are still pieces to gather of the evidence. They are still going over the evidence.
Evidence was recovered inside a stolen vehicle that belonged to one of these women. But again for now the community is focusing on the legacy of these two women, not so much on the man that was just arrested yesterday.
PAUL: All right, Polo, thank you. Appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: Republicans firing back, the Republican National Committee is charging that the Clinton campaign is, quote, "Sunk to new lows" after the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, linked Donald Trump to the values of a white supremacist group.
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TIM KAINE (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump is their candidate because Donald Trump is pushing their values. Ku Klux Klan values, David Duke values, Donald Trump values are not American values.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Trump's campaign spokesman called those comments, quote, "repugnant and repulsive lies." CNN national correspondent, Diane Gallagher is following the story.
Diane, it makes you wonder, Hillary Clinton does have a lot of drama around her already. When you talk about the Clinton Foundation, the e-mails, you wonder why Donald Trump would go this route.
DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Tim Kaine is kind of assuming the traditional role of running mate as the attack dog here, Christi. Obviously, he is taking the Clinton campaign sort of a new route that they are going, saying that Donald Trump's campaign is one that is routed in prejudice.
Tim Kaine taking it quite a bit further in those comments there. Of course, as you said, the RNC jumping on it to saying that it is a new low. Trump surrogates call it an outrage.
Shawn Spicer, the spokesman for the RNC, tweeting, that if other Democrats don't denounce this statement that they are complicit. Now the Trump campaign has said initially that those statements are not true and that they feel like this is just the Clinton campaign's way of trying to distract from their own issues.
But really, Christi, this is something the Clinton campaign has tried to hammer on pretty hard the past couple of days. On Thursday, the campaign released a video trying to link Donald Trump to the KKK again.
And also trying to show that video from before when Jake Tapper tried to get Donald Trump to disavow the support of David Duke.
[08:05:01]Now, for what it's worth, Donald Trump did say to a television station in New Hampshire, WMUR, when asked point-blank if he wanted white supremacists to support him, he said, no, I do not want their support.
But this is something that's probably going to continue to play out as a back and forth trying to cast the other campaign as racist here.
PAUL: Historically do we know if this kind of argument plays well with voters? I mean, let's be really honest, race is a very personal issue to people.
GALLAGHER: It is. And I think right now it appears what the Clinton campaign is trying to do is take comments that Donald Trump has made and take comments that people who support him, whether Donald Trump wants that support or not, and try to play it as if it is the way the campaign operates, what the campaign wants to do.
Cast his campaign in a light that makes him appear racist. The Donald Trump, of course, his campaign trying to do the same thing with Hillary Clinton's campaign. Saying that it is her policies that hold down minority groups that make it impossible for them to get a foot up. Some of that tactic has not gone so well, Christi, for Donald Trump. There's been a lot of push-back on that. But historically a lot of people have said they want to hear less anger and more policy at this point.
PAUL: All right. Well, we'll see how that happens. Diane Gallagher, we appreciate it. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's take you now to the Kansas City, Missouri, metro area. Look at this. This is what people are dealing with. Flash flooding there, the National Weather Service calling this an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation. Roads impassable.
And you can see people trying to -- the car here, the SUV covered up to the roof. Police here searching to see if there is anyone stuck in this car. People are trying to pass. You shouldn't drive through the roads and don't know if they are passable.
Emergency crews are working around the clock to find people and to make matters worse here. Much of the power is out. The flash flooding is part of the severe weather system that brought the threat of tornadoes and hail early yesterday.
And the people who live there are reporting downed tree limbs, branches. No signs of any buildings damaged. Good news here, no one hurt in the reports so far.
PAUL: Listen to what we're hearing about this next rescue. Two mariners have been saved after being stranded for a week on a remote uninhabited island in the Pacific. They wrote SOS in the sand. Look at that.
A U.S. Navy aircraft spotted the message and sent a patrol boat back to pick them up. They have been missing for a week after their boat failed to reach its destination of (inaudible) Island.
An international team searched nearly 17,000 miles for the pair before the plane got a glimpse of the SOS. What a story, I'm sure, they have to tell.
BLACKWELL: Libertarians hoping a major ad-buy can help them make the debate stage. We'll speak with the ticket's vice presidential nominee, Bill Weld, just moments from now.
PAUL: And a rash of heroin overdoses is sweeping the Midwest. Police believed the drug was tainted with elephant tranquilizer. The question is, how much of that batch is still out there?
PAUL: It's 11 minutes past the hour. And there is a major push under way to launch the Libertarian candidates onto the debate stage. The Purple PAC spending $1 million airing this new ad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would like to punch him in the face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): One candidate offends everyone. The other will say anything to get elected.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 110 e-mails contained classified information at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America deserves better. Gary Johnson supports social tolerance, free enterprise and the same foreign policy. A government that stays out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So we are joined on the phone now by Bill Weld. He is a Libertarian vice presidential candidate and the former governor of Massachusetts. Mr. Weld, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
BILL WELD, LIBERTARIAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Christi, it's a pleasure.
PAUL: We just took a look at that ad there, wondering do you think the dislike of two candidates can truly catapult you and Gary Johnson onto the debate stage or at least Gary Johnson onto the stage himself?
WELD: Well, I think what's going to catapult us onto the stage is that we represent a combination that neither of the other two parties does. We are fiscally responsible. We both balance the budget as two-term governors. We are socially inclusive which certainly the Republican Party is not these days.
And polls show that 62 percent of people in the United States want us in those debates. So, you know, we have been running around the country, we just got back from a four-day western swing. We are just winding up a four-day New England swing.
We are spending money on the air to get up Gary's name recognition. But the commission on the debate is a nonprofit taxing entity, they have to be non-partisan. They can't be bipartisan. So we are pretty sure we are going to be in those debates. And once we get there, we think we've got winning arguments.
PAUL: Well, Purple PAC president, Ed Crane, told CNN, quote, "If he's in the debate, there's no telling what might happen." Is this an effort to better establish, obviously, your party on a national level, on the national front, or how confident are you truly that you and Gary Johnson could pull this off?
WELD: We're in this to win. I think if we get to say 20, 25 percent in September, we're very dangerous to win the whole thing because we'll have the momentum. We'll be at 25 percent and three months ago we were at 5 percent.
And the other parties will have come down because we seemed to be drawing fairly equally from both parties. You know, we see at our rallies that people are very responsive to our message, that we cut taxes. We cut spending. We set the fiscal and budget house in order.
At the same time, on the social side, we are not in anybody's face. You know, whatever your position is that's great. We are just not going to have government force position on anybody.
Gary is running number one among 18 to 24-year-olds and close at number two in 18 to 34-year-olds. Millennials really respond to this. Frankly with all respect, I don't know why any Republican would vote for Donald Trump.
He's essentially, as he said, a New York liberal and he doesn't seem interested in studying up on foreign policy. He's got some very interesting, crazy ideas like rounding up and deporting 11 million people whose papers aren't in order and building a huge wall on the Mexican border --
WELD: You know, Fidel Castro's Cuba multiplied by 100 off our border, not 90 miles offshore.
PAUL: Governor Weld, of course, you are a former Republican. Boston magazine did an article on you very in-depth and very interesting and they said that they made a point of mentioning this.
They said when Johnson suggested abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, Weld raises an eyebrow and clarified that he wouldn't go that far.
When asked about gun control, Weld suggests the formation of a massive new FBI task force. How aligned are the two of you with policy?
WELD: Well, we are very aligned. We both self-identify as small Libertarians. Having said that, I'm running as myself. I'm running as the same guy who is a two-term governor of Massachusetts and who changed the budget.
Gary is running as the former two-term governor of New Mexico, who changed the budget and you know, we created a lot of jobs. Our unemployment rate went way down.
We do both think that radical tax reform is necessary whether it is a single national consumption tax that is Gary's leading position. I think we might want to have a look at Steve Forbes' flat tax, which could be either 17 percent or 19 percent.
I was very interested in that when Steve Forbes ran for president, but we're going to get there. There's no question that tax is going to come down. Spending is going to come down. Otherwise the national debt is just going to sink our economy. It's going to $20 trillion when President Obama leaves office. Half of that is his. If Mrs. Clinton is elected, that will accelerate with all the promises that the Democrats have made, not decelerate.
PAUL: So Governor Weld, if you don't make the debate, what is the strategy then?
WELD: Well, we'll make as much noise as we can, but really more people are going to watch that first debate than watch the Super Bowl. And the point is that the people want to hear from us. People this year are thirsty to have it explained to them, why should they have to vote for only an "r" or a "d."
Almost 50 percent of the country now are independent. That was not true 20 years ago. So this is the culmination of a trend and I think the time has come to open the doors in a little area.
PAUL: You told the "Portland Press Herald" that your campaign was pulling in a million dollars a day in donations. At what point did that start happening? Did you start seeing that kind of money?
WELD: Well, the whole thing started changing about three weeks ago. I could feel the adrenaline move into my stomach meeting (inaudible) --
PAUL: What do you think was pushing it?
WELD: That's the Bernie Sanders type money. It's $7 here, $15 there, $32 there. And I noticed on my own telephone, instead of $5,000, it's $250,000 for the high-end donors on up. It is gelling for us. And we look forward to a robust debate in the fall.
I mean, we're going to ask the Republicans why they have to be so socially exclusive in a social nanny state, and we'll ask the Democrats why they have to spend so much money and be a fiscal nanny state.
It's almost like they want the government to live people's lives for them, which of course is the opposite of what libertarians think.
PAUL: Gary Johnson was on NEW DAY earlier this week and he said, in talking about immigration, he said, we should really embrace immigration. These are really hard-working people who are taking jobs that U.S. citizens don't want.
Get a system in place, work visas that make it easy to cross over the border. What specifically is your policy? And how does a President Johnson craft that immigration policy that vets people who come over the border to make that people who do want to work and not somebody who has nefarious intent.
Because we are in the middle of national security concerns. In a recent poll it showed that the electorate, that is their second biggest concern, national security. WELD: I get that. So you have a background check on everybody who comes across the border from south, from Mexico, and you give them a Social Security card so they can pay taxes on the money that they make so they won't be lost. They will be in the system.
And then when their work visa expires, they go back to their family in Mexico. It's not as though everyone gets a visa in this country is automatically on path to citizenship. That's just a scare tactic that people who hate immigrants have swing out there. It's not true.
So Gary was a southwest of the border state governor and he understands that immigration is an important part of our labor force down there. And you ask anybody from the southwest who understands the system, even if they don't particularly like immigrants or immigration, they'll say, yes, we need these people to round out our labor force.
And yes, they are hard workers and they are not rapists and murderers. It's just something Mr. Trump made up. They commit less crimes that the public at large, in fact, statistics show.
PAUL: Governor Bill Weld, we appreciate you taking the time to be with us. Sir, thank you so much.
By the way, you can catch Hillary Clinton's running mate, Mike Pence live on CNN tomorrow morning. He's set to join "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
[08:20:03]Still to come, dozens of earthquake victims being laid to rest today as Italy pauses for a national day of mourning.
BLACKWELL: It is a national day of Central Italy. A state funeral is being held for more than three dozen of the earthquake victims. Italy's prime minister and president are attending the service for the people who were laid to rest there today.
And just 35 of the now 290 who have died in this earthquake. Aftershocks hampering search and recovery efforts as the death and devastation across the region is sinking in.
We've got CNN's Fred Pleitgen there in Amatrice this morning live for us, one of the most devastated towns. Fred, you arrived in this city just hours after the earthquake struck. Give us an idea of what you've experienced and what is happening there now.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a total scene of devastation the first time that we arrived. We keep saying, this is the hardest-hit village and just to illustrate that, of the 291 people who have been confirmed dead in this earthquake, 230 were killed right here.
I just want to show you around a little bit. You have this house right here, which is one of the main buildings in the city center. You can see it is absolutely flattened and the rescue workers have been trying to see if there are survivors in buildings like this one.
And there are many more like this here in the city. And in the beginning stages, in the first day and a half, they did find a few survivors within the rubble. But now in the past one-and-a-half days, very few and very far between.
[08:25:05]And now that the 72-hour time period where the chances are the greatest to find survivors has passed, it really is now would be a miracle if they found anymore.
Nevertheless, the rescue crews are not giving up. You can see back there right now there's some sort of handover going on right now and the rescue crews are having a meeting to coordinate their efforts.
Of course, they are working in many different areas in the town. And one of the things, Victor, that they really have to watch out for are the aftershocks that have been taking place.
Because those aftershocks are also very difficult for the folks sifting through the rubble trying to find people who are still alive. Because every time aftershock happens, that rubble itself starts shifting and can bury some of them underneath it.
So very difficult for the rescue crews. They have been soldiering on. And of course, for the population here, it is an absolutely tragic site to see people with tears in their eyes. Almost every family that lives in this village has had a member either killed or very badly injured.
Again, the facilities are there to help these people, but of course the psychological scars is something that will be very difficult to deal with. And also the fear that a lot of the folks have right now with the aftershocks going on -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: Yes, the scars that you don't see are often the ones that take the longest and most work to heal. Fred Pleitgen for us there in Amatrice, thank you so much. For more ways that you can help the victims of this earthquake, visit CNN.com/impact.
PAUL: We are hearing now from Donald Trump's personal doctor. Yes, the one who wrote the letter declaring Trump in quote, "astonishingly excellent health."
PAUL: We're just edging toward the half hour here, and Donald Trump's personal doctor is explaining what he meant when he said that Trump would be "the healthiest individual ever elected."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Dr. Harold Bornstein says he wrote the letter saying that Trump was in excellent health in just five minutes while a limo driver was waiting outside his office. Here's more of what he told NBC News. DR. HAROLD BORNSTEIN, DONALD TRUMP'S DOCTOR: I thought about it all
day and at the end I get rushed and I get anxious when I get rushed. So I tried to get the four to five lines down as fast as possible that they would be happy with it. His health is excellent particularly his mental health. He's like the (inaudible) that will work out just fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, HOST: All right, there's the doctor. Plenty to talk about this morning. Here with me to do that, Amy Kremer, Co-chair of the Women vote Trump Pac, a Donald Trump supporter. Also Tharon Johnson former South Regional Director for President Obama's 2012 campaign and a Hillary Clinton supporter. Good morning to both of you.
AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR WOMEN VOTE TRUMP PAC: Good morning.
THARON JOHNSON, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: Amy, come on. The doctor here says -
CRAMER: You heard him.
BLACKWELL: He could be a genius, he could be the best doctor in New York but he says you know I get rushed, and I get anxious when I get rushed so I tried to get four or five lines down as fast as possible that they would be happy with. So if he's just writing to make the candidate or the campaign happy, is this an objective opinion of Donald Trump' health?
KREMER: Well, I don't think he would write something that's false. I mean he is a doctor and he has to be licensed. I don't - he's - I don't know how long he's been you know Donald Trump's physician, but he is a little eccentric. I mean I think it is kind of bizarre -
BLACKWELL: Since 1980 -
KREMER: -- the media in there. You know I mean most doctors wouldn't do that. So he is a little eccentric.
BLACKWELL: Aside from his eccentricities, is this - this letter that we have that says if elected Mr. Trump I can state unequivocally will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency. I mean he didn't exam James Monroe, so how could you say that he's going to be the healthiest person ever?
KREMER: I think what he was talking about there is of current Presidents living right now. I believe that's what he's talking about. He said that, he - I mean he said it -- you didn't play the clip, but --
BLACKWELL: I've got the whole track here. He says, I think he would be fit. I think his brain is turned on 24 hours a day. I mean --
KREMER: You know he only sleeps three to four hours a night. BLACKWELL: Yes, he really doesn't sleep much. Tharon let me come to
you. How much of this is worth to the Democrats even with this interview from the eccentric let's call him, doctor?
JOHNSON: I think there was a failed attempt to really amplify what Donald Trump was talking about a couple of weeks ago saying that Hillary Clinton sleeps all the time and that she's tired and he wanted his doctor to come out and say you know I'm in great health. Listen this is nothing but an extension of the Donald Trump campaign where they say some of the most outlandish sort of most outrageous things.
Now I think also what the doctor did is listen he wanted to try to basically tell the American people these things that you're hearing from this guy's mouth you know who has been one of the most unconventional candidates in our history, he's mentally sane. And I just think the Democrats are going to have a field day with this. I think you'll see a commercial if not --
BLACKWELL: Really, is it worth that much?
JOHNSON: Because I think it is. Because I mean this is your doctor. I mean, this is people who basically work hard to get their licenses and then to sort of come out and then basically rebuke your own statement and admit that he sort of was kind of pressured to write this letter in the time while his limo driver was waiting downstairs. I'm not saying - and I'm not claiming that he did anything illegal or inaccurate.
KREMER: -- (inaudible) though?
BLACKWELL: The letter?
KREMER: I don't think he did it --
BLACKWELL: The letter was December 4, 2015.
KREMER: Yes, that was last fall. So I mean look, he wrote it, he is a physician. You know, he's worked hard to be a physician. I mean --
BLACKWELL: The question is what's the impact? What's it worth and you think the Democrats might make some hay of this. Speaking of outlandish salacious things that candidates say, some are saying, using those phrases to characterize what Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee said yesterday. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM KAINE, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He has supporters like David Duke connected with the Ku Klux Klan who are going around and saying Donald Trump is their candidate because Donald Trump is pushing their values. Ku Klux Klan values, David Duke values, Donald Trump values are not American values, they're not our values and we've got to do all we can to fight to push back and win.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: And Tharon there are some groups that once you introduce them to the conversation, it's often seen as a bridge too far. The KKK is sometimes seen as one of those groups. Nazi is one of the groups, Hitler another character. Did Tim Kaine go too far here?
JOHNSON: Absolutely not. Listen, that's the role of a VP is to basically say and do things on the campaign that quite frankly sometimes the presidential candidate cannot say. But let's talk about what he also said. He was a FAMU, a historically black college and university, he talked about under the education plan of Hillary Clinton, they will continue to fully fund HCBUS. But listen when Donald Trump really made his I think failed appeal to African- Americans, Victor he was not talking at us, he was basically really talking to white moderate women. He wanted to basically soften his image. And so I think -
KREMER: I disagree -
JOHNSON: Now I think this - but you see the thing is Amy the difference between what Tim Kaine just did versus what Donald Trump Tim Kaine was in a predominantly African-American historically black college university. Donald Trump was in a 93% town talking to a 98% audience.
BLACKWELL: Can you have that conversation without introducing KKK and David Duke?
JOHNSON: Well the challenge for Donald Trump was this, Trump had an opportunity during the primary to denounce David Duke. He is the same candidate who retweet white supremacy's group, you guys have reported on that a long time. The problem is that Donald Trump wants to be - if he wants to stop being tagged and labeled as a person who supports the values of the KKK come out and rebuke what they've done, come out and denounce your relationship with David Duke.
KREMER: He has - he has said he doesn't want their vote.
BLACKWELL: He has said he does not want their vote.
JOHNSON: But that's not a full denouncement of the actual individual.
BLACKWELL: Go ahead.
KREMER: But I think that look, I mean this has happened before. This race card was pulled on the Tea Party. We saw it again in August of 2012 with Romney. I think that this is because Hillary Clinton is concerned that Donald Trump's outreach to African-Americans may be effective a little bit and also because it is deflect from her scandals that are going on right now. I mean just yesterday there are e-mails in those 15,000 e-mails, those were deleted and there's Benghazi emails in there --
JOHNSON: But the only ones that are talking about emails and that's (inaudible) when Donald Trump has 2% now and that depends on whether Ben Carson answers the phone when people call, he's not going to do that well with African-Americans.
BLACKWELL: Tharon Johnson, Amy Kremer.
KREMER: You don't know.
JOHNSON: I guarantee it, Amy.
BLACKWELL: Always good to have both of you here and together. Thanks so much.
PAUL: Nearly 80 heroin overdoses in the past 48 hours. This isn't just about numbers, this is about people here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Cincinnati police trying to track down the source of a batch of heroin going around the city. The heroin, they say, most likely laced with elephant tranquilizers. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will throw it in people's cars, they will say
here's a sample, hey, I'm your dealer, I've got my package marked come back to me, I will make sure I give you the good stuff.
I mean this is how callous the dealers are and who knows what's in the substance they're giving people. They're giving it away for free hoping that people come back and buy more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Investigators in several states are dealing with an alarming outbreak of heroin overdoses that seem to be sweeping the Midwest right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Yes, in just the past few days, scores of people in Indiana and Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia have overdosed. Several have died.
PAUL: The sheriff's deputies in Marion County, Indiana, for example, they released some of the 911 calls related to the overdoses. I know and I want to give you a heads-up, this is disturbing to hear some of this. But apparently the department just wants to show how dangerous this drug is becoming. Take a listen.
CALLER: I found a resident passed out on the bathroom floor and then I finally woke her up and everything. I found some paraphernalia, some spoons, some syringes, she told me she was just shooting up heroin.
911 DISPATCHER: Is she awake now?
CALLER: Yes. 911 DISPATCHER: Is she breathing?
CALLER: Yes, she is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Let's take you to Cincinnati. Police say almost 80 people have overdosed in just two days. And they are afraid a batch of heroin laced with elephant tranquilizer could still be on the streets.
Our Rachel Crane is following the story from Cincinnati this morning. This is -- I want to say, unbelievable, sadly, it isn't.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, victor, the problem continues. By midnight last night in Cincinnati alone there were 36 overdoses. And in order to better understand the impact that this opioid epidemic is having on people lives, we spoke to a family who has been caught in the addiction cycle for years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURIE ERION, APRIL'S MOTHER: Terrified. It terrifies me.
CRANE: A recent spike in heroin overdoses. Nearly 100 in the last week alone have Laurie Erion fearing for her daughter's life.
APRIL ERION, HEROIN ADDICT: I would love to get high. I would, you know I'm a drug addict, that's what I do best.
CRANE: April is 22 years old and she's been using heroin for the last six years. In those years, she said she's lost about a dozen friends.
ERION: Overdose. I just had one of my friend's die I think yesterday morning and she left four kids behind.
CRANE: Officials suspect a batch of heroin laced with elephant tranquilizers is to blame for the latest string of overdoses. But April says that's not enough to scare away regular users.
When you are addicted to heroin, when you're using, you don't care about dying. You're just chasing the next high. And for a lot of people, hearing that there is a souped-up strain of dope on the streets, that's actually appealing?
ERION: Yes, definitely. Absolutely. Because you -- you stop getting high. That's why they call it chasing. Because you stop getting high. You're just - you're staying not sick. So when you here that somebody has overdosed or you hear about these crazy new drugs, you know, you're thinking, like well, all right. It's about time. I'm trying to get high. I mean that's all you've been trying to do.
CRANE: So that means with this new strain of heroin that's cut with an elephant tranquilizer.
ERION: I am very sure that there are heroin addicts who are actively looking for it. And thinking that the people that are dying are doing it wrong. They're doing too much. They're not -- you know what I mean they're just thinking that they're going to find a way to get really high and not die. Or if they die, they don't really care. But they're definitely looking for it. I would be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My friend's on drugs. I think he's overdosing - I think he's overdosed.
911 OPERATOR: Is he awake?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No he's awake but barely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not breathing.
911 OPERATOR: OK. What's he OD'ing on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heroin. I guess it's laced with --
CRANE: This firehouse in Cincinnati responded to nearly two dozen overdoses in a single day last week. More than ten times their daily average. And they don't know when the calls will stop coming in. But April's mom is worried about a different type of call.
LAURIE ERION: You know, we hear an ambulance, and we always wonder if it's someone that we know or for our child. And that's something that we live with every day. You know, we go to bed at night, wondering if we're going to get that phone call.
CRANE: April and her mom know better than anyone how difficult the struggle with opioid addiction is.
ERION: I'll do any drug you put in front of me. So, it's definitely a struggle. It's really hard.
LAURIE ERION: It's difficult because we can't like love them out of it. You know, so, we love them so much, and it doesn't -- there's nothing that we can really do for them.
CRANE: April says getting sober is a daily struggle. But in her eyes, not using heroin is progress. Even if other drugs are taking its place.
ERION: I'm definitely not -- I wouldn't say I'm using. But I've used twice since I've been out and I've been out for a month.
CRANE: How has heroin changed your life?
ERION: Well, I'm 22. I just did 11 months incarcerated. I'm back on probation with more time on the shelf. When in reality, I mean I probably should have been applying for med school this summer. You know, that was what I wanted to do. That's where I should have been.
CRANE: And while April is not in med school we do want to point out that she is in recovery, she says that she's receiving treatment about three to four times a week and right now she's focused on getting through life one day at a time and staying clean. Victor?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Rachel Crane there for us in Cincinnati. And thanks so much to that mom and daughter for being so candid. Rachel, thanks.
PAUL: It takes strong people to be able to talk about this. And that's why we want to talk with Louise Vincent. She is with us now. Louise, good morning to you, thank you so much for being with us.
I know that you have used heroin in the past admittedly. And my condolences to you because I understand that you also lost your daughter to an overdose. Help us understand the struggle for your family with this drug.
LOUISE VINCENT, DAUGHTER DIED OF HEROIN OVERDOSE: Well, it's a complicated -- it's a complicated problem. One of the problems is we talk a lot about the problem and I just heard it said, there's nothing that can be done. And that's not true. We have harm reduction that we can use and I work in harm reduction and I've worked in harm reduction for the last 10 years and I've watched as we fight against it when it is an evidence-based philosophy that we can use to help. Naloxone can reverse overdoses. We know, evidence says that when you put Naloxone in a community you can have a 50% reversal rate, so we know that we can reverse overdoses. And if we give heroin users Naloxone at least they can if we give them Naloxone and we train them in overdose reversal, then at least we're giving them some tools. We can give parents Naloxone.
PAUL: When you say harm reduction, what specifically do you mean? Because I do know that you've made this your mission. You work with a health educator for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, but what exactly does that mean?
VINCENT: What does harm reduction mean?
PAUL: Yes, what is the context, what is the policies, what is the program?
VINCENT: All right, harm reduction is -- one of the policies is syringe exchange. It's any positive change. Working with people who are actively using and providing them with strategies and choices. And not just telling them that getting clean is the only, is the only option, is the only outcome that's desirable.
You know, we have to work for any small change, any positive change. It's what changed my life. When I stopped trying to always get to the very end goal, and I started being okay with me and accepting you know small, you know, any kind of -- any kind of - any kind of reaching a goal is a success. So we have to really work with people instead of telling people, they have to be all the way well or they are all the way sick.
PAUL: How do they respond to your advice or your counsel that they can make these gradual baby steps? And how determined are they to do it? VINCENT: It's a beautiful thing. People have been -- drug users have
been told for so long that they're terrible, that they can't do anything, that they're powerless and they're unable to make choices and they're unable to do anything. That if they're using, they might as well accept t jails, institutions and death and not even - and not even fight for their lives.
I'm telling them they can make changes, they can do these things and then they do them. And it's amazing. We have -- I work with people whose parents have left them, they're unable to get jobs, they're unable to work because of stigma and because of all of the way society treats drug users. And really, when you show them some love and you give them an opportunity to be part of something it's amazing. We do drug user organizing, we have community organizing.
PAUL: Louise do you think any of those things could have saved your daughter?
VINCENT: Drug policy is what we need. Drug policy has to change. Drug policy is the reason people are dying. I don't blame the heroin. Heroin is not good, but drug policy is really what's killing people. That's what would save my daughter. Anybody that works with opioid- involved clients' needs to be trained in overdose reversal and have Naloxone. Even in places where we don't think people should be using, so jails, rehabilitations. When people leave rehab, they are 12 times more likely to die because of tolerance exchanges. But yet rehabs don't want to give people Naloxone upon discharge because they say it muddies their message.
PAUL: Okay, Louise Vincent, I know that it's probably a hard thing to talk about. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to talk to us. Again our condolences to you for the loss of your daughter. But thank you for the work that you're doing to try to save other people. We appreciate it. Louise Vincent, again thank you.
BLACKWELL: Important story. And coming up in the CNN Newsroom in the 10:00 o'clock eastern hour we'll talk with the U.S. Surgeon General about the rising heroin epidemic. He's taking this issue very seriously hitting the road to change the way doctors use opioids to treat patients obviously as their pain medication sometimes that leads to the heroin addiction when they can't get the pain medication anymore. That is all coming up. We'll talk about Zika, we'll talk about the Epipen, it's all coming up in the 10:00 o'clock hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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