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CNN 10

Opioid Abuse in America; Fast-Moving Wildfires in California

Aired October 11, 2017 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz and this is CNN 10.

Today`s show begins with an in-depth explanation of opioid abuse in America. Opioids are synthetic drugs that can be prescribed to control

pain. They`re also widely abused in the U.S. and they`re a major part of the reason why drugs are the leading cause of accidental death in the

country. They surpassed car accidents years ago.

Epidemiologists specifically blamed the abuse of heroine and opioids for the dramatic rise of drug overdose deaths. It`s an epidemic and the

illegal use of fentanyl, a drug many times more potent than heroin or morphine, factors in.

The Trump administration and the former Obama administration have both spoken out about this issue. Late last month, First Lady Melania Trump led

a roundtable discussion on opioid abuse, focusing in particular on how it involves young people. And yesterday, Mrs. Trump visited a recovery center

that helps infants who were born addicted to the drugs their mothers were on.

Examples of people who`ve gotten hooked, people who`ve died from overdoses are people whose relatives and friends are involved can be seen in every

corner of America.


LISA STOKESBURY, 20-YEAR-OLD STEPSON DIED FROM OVERDOSE: It is ravaging every segment of our society. This is a chemical almost warfare on us that

people don`t know how to control.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The high school cheerleader addicted at 15. The 20-year-old baseball player, dead. These fathers now

inmates because of their addictions. And even the sheriff`s former wife, addicted.

This is the real picture of America`s opioid crisis, where drugs don`t discriminate. It`s infesting neighborhoods across the heartland and from

coast to coast.

(on camera): How does a 15-year-old cheerleader from Ohio start doing heroin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are kids, they`re your next door neighbor, my next door neighbor, my kid`s friends. Our children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell my kids when they come to my treatment court -- you have three options in my court. You graduate from treatment court,

you`re going to prison, or you`re going to be dead.

HARLOW: Death, jail or recovery, the only options for the millions of Americans now addicted to opioids, from prescription pain pills like

oxycodone to street drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

The intersection of I-70 and I-75 means Ohio has become a distribution hub for drugs and a crossroads for this crisis.

The Ohio Department of Health says more than 3,400 people across the state died from an opioid overdose just last year. Here, the morgue freezers are

overflowing, with the bodies of those who lost their battle.

DR. KENT HARSHBARGER, CORONER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY: The overdose rate has doubled in the last five months. So, since the end of December 2016, we`ve

seen an amazing, alarming increase in the number of accidental overdose deaths.

HARLOW: Montgomery County coroner, Dr. Kent Harshbarger, says the death rate is three times what it was just two years ago. Nearly every night,

his morgue freezer fills up, and up to 70 percent of the bodies in here are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who died from an opioid overdose.

HARSHBARGER: There`s no one excluded. This is happening to every socioeconomic class in our community, every age.

HARLOW: One of them, just last year, was 20-year-old Bradley Stokesbury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great kid, great student, loved life.

HARLOW: Brad died from an overdose in the same hospital where he was born.

BRUCE STOKESBURY, 20-YEAR-OLD SON DIED FROM OVERDOSE: He was going to carry the Stokesbury name. He was my only son.

HARLOW: He overdosed on a Sunday, just hours after he went to church with his parents. Then, to a friend`s house, then he collapsed.

Dr. Harshbarger found the opioid fentanyl, more powerful than heroin, in his system.

(on camera): Do you still wake up some mornings and think this didn`t have to us?


B. STOKESBURY: I wake up every morning with that.

HARLOW: How are you holding up?

EMILY STOKESBURY, BROTHER DIED FROM OPIOID OVERDOSE: It makes me feel good to help others talk about it. There`s usually like I`m OK with it, not OK,

but I`m better than most. And I don`t know, it helps me to have others talk about it, and when they get it out, it helps me get it out.

HARLOW: So, what do you want everyone to remember about your big brother?

E. STOKESBURY: Just his smile, his laugh.

HARLOW: What do you say to parents out there?

L. STOKESBURY: Talk to your kids.

B. STOKESBURY: Talk to your kids.

HARLOW: You did that and you lost your son.

L. STOKESBURY: Yes. And that`s why it`s even more important. We would have done it more, probably.

HARLOW (voice-over): Dr. Harshbarger has had to perform autopsies on victims as young as 13 months, babies dying from exposure to their parents`


HARSHBARGER: What`s most challenging is seeing the same story repeated over and over again. The death rate is so fast.

HARLOW: So fast and rising, because even though the total number of opioid prescriptions has declined significantly, the street made opioids are only

getting stronger and more deadly.


AZUZ: The U.S. government has issued a major disaster declaration for the state of California. That should speed up government health and funding to

deal with the flare up of deadly wildfires.

It`s challenging to grasp the numbers. As of last night, there were more than 12 wildfires burning in the state, and most had only started on

Sunday. More than 115,000 acres, you could think of that like 115,000 football fields, have been lost.

And the fires aren`t just destroying forests. We don`t know yet exactly how many homes and businesses have burned, but the three largest fires in

northern California alone have destroyed 1,500 of them. And at least 15 people have died in the past few days.

Authorities haven`t said what caused the fires. They flared up during California`s wildfire season, which typically runs from late spring through

the fall.

And what`s making it worse are the Santa Ana winds that started this week. These are warm dried gusts that blow in from the desert and intend to fan

any flames that spring up. And though the National Weather Service had issued a warning early this week, that fire and weather conditions would be

critical, many residents find it hard to prepare for a disaster that strikes this quickly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, it was just this immediate, we see (ph) small smoke and start getting windy, and all of a sudden, there`s this brighten

(ph) sky.

SUBTITLE: Wildfires are raging across Northern California, causing death and destruction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my neighborhood, in flames.

SUBTITLE: The fires are particularly scorching the state`s wine country, including Napa, Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Completely in flames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s hard to see and it`s super windy, and it`s not helping at all. We heard some guys over there that got houses and families

over there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s fires everywhere. I`ve been sent to three different directions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to get out of here. We saw it now it`s going to cross the road. It`s all bad.

SUBTITLE: Firefighters have been battling flames spread by strong winds.

FIREFIGHTER: Essentially, we`re in a mode of saving lives and getting people out of harm`s way at the moment.

SUBTITLE: Hospitals, homes and hotels were evacuated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see condos going up, you could see the trees on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s tremendous. And the wind, it was pretty scary.

SUBTITLE: Wildfires burned over tens of thousands of acres in California, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we have cars and Harleys and boats and all kinds of stuff, all gone. The house is the only thing that`s left and our

neighbor right there lost everything.



AZUZ: If you`re planning to visit Antarctica, you should leave your summer clothes behind. If you`re planning to work there as a doctor, you should

leave your appendix behind. Why?

Antarctica winters are so severe that it`s virtually impossible to evacuate for the kind of emergency surgery that appendicitis would require. In

fact, a doctor who got appendicitis there back in the 1960s had to take out his own appendix using only local anesthesia and a couple of makeshift

assistants. Somehow, he survived. And now, doctors planning to winter in the coldest place on earth had their appendix out beforehand.

Now, that`s random!


AZUZ: For "10 out of 10", of course, there are records for the world`s biggest dog and the world`s smallest dog. You might have not known there`s

a Guinness World Record for the dog with the longest tongue. This is that animal.

Her name is Mochi. She`s a St. Bernard rescue who lives in South Dakota, and her tongue measures more than seven inches in length, which her owner

say contributes to extra drool and extra water around her water bowl.

I wonder what her competition is. A Laprador retriever maybe? We hear chow chows get pretty mouthy. Not to mention the Yorkshire tongueriers or

the Lips Apsos. Nothing tongue and cheek about Mochi lapping up that record though. It`s in good taste for an animal that`s an expert in


I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.