I Wasn’t Trying To Kill Him: Family And Addiction

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Family In The Center Of The Opioid Storm

Across the country, drug overdoses have overtaken traffic crashes as the number one cause of accidental death in America. Most of these overdose deaths have been linked to opiates – drugs including opioid prescription painkillers and heroin. And Appalachian East Tennessee has been especially hard-hit by the opioid crisis. Addiction is an everyday reality for many people across the region, destroying lives and forever altering family relationships.

What is it like to have an addicted child? Where do you turn for help?  

In this story we hear from Vince Brown, whose son, Michael, had been a promising former professional baseball pitcher before a career-ending injury left him with a fierce addiction to prescription painkillers.

Vince recalls that at the low-point of his son's addiction to opioids – and later to other drugs, including methamphetamine, he often showed up at Vince's home demanding cash for drugs. When Vince refused to give his son money, these demands sometimes turned violent, landing Michael in jail several times for assault.

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Producer and Director: Jess Mador 

Editor and Cinematographer: Phil Batta 


Jess Mador

Jess Mador is the creator of TruckBeat for WUOT. She's an award-winning public radio and multimedia journalist who has produced stories for news organizations around the country, including Minnesota Public Radio, NPR News and PBS member stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Phil Batta

Phil Batta is an award-winning cinematographer and director who specializes in creating short-form documentaries and visually rich multiplatform media for social impact. His work appears on PBS, The New Yorker, UK Channel 4, ITN, The Guardian, ABC7, CNN and ITVS. He's also shot and edited projects honored as official selections at international film festivals and exhibitions. Batta is currently directing two documentaries exploring youth social justice and gender equality. 

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