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Advanced Recovery Systems and BBC: U.S. Heroin Epidemic

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In 2014, more people died from opioid-related overdose than any other year on record — a total of 28,647 deaths. Currently, more than 500,000 Americans are addicted to heroin, many of them young, white and middle-class. Heroin and prescription opioid abuse has become an epidemic of national import, garnering attention from the highest echelons of government, including President Barack Obama and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

Advanced Recovery Systems, a nationwide leader in addiction rehabilitation and behavioral health care, is pleased to announce its partnership with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). This collaboration was formed to raise awareness and tell the stories of people and families affected by this epidemic.

Since May of 2016, Advanced Recovery Systems has been working with the BBC to produce a multipart documentary series “American Addiction: Heroin,” which highlights the main points of concern regarding heroin usage. Staff members at Advanced Recovery Systems’ rehabilitation centers spent time on-site with producers and reporter Ian Pannell to bring the faces of heroin abuse to light.

The documentary series depicts scenes of heroin use, interviews recovering addicts, and shows footage of their lives before and during recovery. The series also spotlights the family of Brooks Watkins, who died of heroin overdose in 2015 at age 21. More than 28,000 adolescents used heroin in 2014.

Among the participants in the series is Dr. Timothy Huckaby, medical director at The Recovery Village in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Huckaby is also a recovering alcoholic and opioid addict. His story sheds light on how heroin has become such a widespread problem — in part from the over-prescription of opioids, such as oxycodone, for chronic and post-surgery pain. Four in five heroin addicts started off abusing oxycodone and other prescription opioids.

“American Addiction: Heroin” is now in wide distribution online and has aired globally. Watch the series at BBC.com, and on the BBC YouTube channel.

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