The Fix

Stories about the opioid epidemic
in the Pittsburgh region.

It’s been called a public health crisis. A national emergency. An epidemic. From pills to needles, and drug deals to prescription pads, everyone has heard about some facet of the opioid addiction.

There seems to be a fatigue, so will one more story help?
Will another project make a difference?
What more can we add to the conversation?

The PublicSource team believes there’s a lot of work to be done. Many stories go untold because of the stigma surrounding drugs. Communities are left in the dark about the realities of drug use. Public discourse lacks the much-needed context of our country’s history on drugs. And, when perceptions are shaped in darkness, people are dehumanized.

Through this series, titled “The Fix,” we will share with you a glimpse into the lives of Pittsburghers who have been affected by drugs in one way or another. The project will span six months with stories touching on drug policy of the past and present, and how the response by government, media and society in general have treated different groups of people struggling with addiction.

As with all of our reporting and storytelling, we will look toward the future. What can be done? How can we learn from the setbacks and successes of current and former drug users, their families, social workers, first responders, doctors, law enforcement and policymakers?

The people who have been brave enough to share their stories have done so as a public service. PublicSource has taken great care with each of the stories in order to provide the most authentic regional view into the epidemic yet. We hope that you — our readers — will enter this project with compassion and an open mind.

Reach out to us at PublicSource with any questions or suggestions; email Halle Stockton, the managing editor, at You can also participate in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

This project has been made possible with the generous support of the Staunton Farm Foundation.

Stories in this series