In Middletown, addiction’s toll: Faces, places — and headstones

Yahoo News Photo Staff

The opioid epidemic is a national crisis. But what does that mean? To answer that, Yahoo News traveled to Middletown, Ohio — a city once considered as ordinary as its name, more recently known for an explosion in opioid use — and explored quantitative research about drugs, health care, and national public opinion. This is a problem so serious that it requires big data; so human that it needs a face. Here is what we found as seen through the lens of photojournalist Mary F. Calvert with text by Emily de La Bruyere.

See the rest of the Yahoo News special report on Opioids in Middletown >>>

Middletown, Ohio, a city under siege: ‘Everyone I know is on heroin’ >>>
Behind the white picket fences, heroin >>>
For taxpayers, the drug epidemic’s bills come due >>>
Addicts, families, doctors, cops all wonder: What works? Where do we go from here? >>>

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<p>Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. He credits this treatment center with saving his life.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. He credits this treatment center with saving his life.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>A posting hangs from a bulletin board with contacts for drug counseling at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

A posting hangs from a bulletin board with contacts for drug counseling at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. He credits this treatment center with saving his life.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. He credits this treatment center with saving his life.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, sits in the group therapy room under the watchful eye of counselor Ana Cristina Weickert at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

Jack Barrett, a recovering heroin addict, sits in the group therapy room under the watchful eye of counselor Ana Cristina Weickert at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Jack Barrett speaks with counsellors. Barrett credits Groups with saving his life. To pass the gift on, he distributes pamphlets for Groups around his neighborhood, and tries to recruit friends to join him in treatment. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

Jack Barrett speaks with counsellors. Barrett credits Groups with saving his life. To pass the gift on, he distributes pamphlets for Groups around his neighborhood, and tries to recruit friends to join him in treatment. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Chris Carroll, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.<br> Photo by Mary F. Calvert </p>
Addiction counseling

Chris Carroll, a recovering heroin addict, attends group therapy at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.
Photo by Mary F. Calvert

<p>Urine samples on shelf at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. Here, patients are trusted to produce their samples without supervision. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

Urine samples on shelf at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. Here, patients are trusted to produce their samples without supervision. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Cynthia Abney listens to a recovering heroin addict at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

Cynthia Abney listens to a recovering heroin addict at Groups in Middletown, Ohio.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>An opiod addicts receive counseling at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Addiction counseling

An opiod addicts receive counseling at Groups in Middletown, Ohio. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Butler County Sherriff’s office in Hamilton, Ohio.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Butler County Sherriff’s office in Hamilton, Ohio.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Butler County Sherriff Richard K. Jones won’t allow his deputies to carry Narcan: He calls it a security concern.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Butler County Sherriff Richard K. Jones won’t allow his deputies to carry Narcan: He calls it a security concern.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>“My officers’ job isn’t to save this person who chose to shoot up drugs,” says Richard K. Jones, Butler County Sheriff. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

“My officers’ job isn’t to save this person who chose to shoot up drugs,” says Richard K. Jones, Butler County Sheriff. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Items on a table in Sheriff Jones’s office. Butler County Sherriff Richard K. Jones won’t allow his deputies to administer Narcan to people who have overdosed on drugs.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Items on a table in Sheriff Jones’s office. Butler County Sherriff Richard K. Jones won’t allow his deputies to administer Narcan to people who have overdosed on drugs.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Butler County Sherriff Richard K. Jones won’t allow his deputies to administer Narcan to people who have overdosed on drugs.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Butler County Sherriff Richard K. Jones won’t allow his deputies to administer Narcan to people who have overdosed on drugs.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Middletown, Ohio is a town in crisis due to the economic downturn and high numbers of citizens who are addicted to drugs.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Middletown, Ohio

Middletown, Ohio is a town in crisis due to the economic downturn and high numbers of citizens who are addicted to drugs.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>A map at the Middletown Fire Department. The firemen say that overdose calls come in from all over town: This epidemic does not discriminate.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

A map at the Middletown Fire Department. The firemen say that overdose calls come in from all over town: This epidemic does not discriminate.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Middletown fire fighters between calls. “This is a small town with big city problems,” says one. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Middletown fire fighters between calls. “This is a small town with big city problems,” says one. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Coat rack at the Middletown Fire Department. A federal grant last year allowed them to bring on the additional personnel necessary to deal with the growing number of calls. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Coat rack at the Middletown Fire Department. A federal grant last year allowed them to bring on the additional personnel necessary to deal with the growing number of calls. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Middletown Fire Department personnel wait for calls in Middletown, Ohio.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Middletown Fire Department personnel wait for calls in Middletown, Ohio.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>A firefighter with Narcan at the MIddletown Fire Department. Before, reviving a victim only took 2 mg. Recently, they’ve had to administer as much as 18. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

A firefighter with Narcan at the MIddletown Fire Department. Before, reviving a victim only took 2 mg. Recently, they’ve had to administer as much as 18. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>In the parking lot outside Old Crow Bar, the Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a possible heroin overdose. The woman insists that she’s fine — she doesn’t want to go to the hospital. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

In the parking lot outside Old Crow Bar, the Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a possible heroin overdose. The woman insists that she’s fine — she doesn’t want to go to the hospital. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Middletown Fire and Police Department personnel respond to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Middletown Fire and Police Department personnel respond to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Drug paraphernalia is seen on a car hood as the Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Drug paraphernalia is seen on a car hood as the Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Middletown Fire and Police Department personnel respond to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Middletown Fire and Police Department personnel respond to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>The Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a young woman possibly overdosing on heroin. “You’re not going to get in trouble:” A fireman tries to convince her to go to the hospital. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

The Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a young woman possibly overdosing on heroin. “You’re not going to get in trouble:” A fireman tries to convince her to go to the hospital. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>The Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin. “You’re not going to get in trouble:” A fireman tries to convince her to go to the hospital. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

The Middletown Fire Department responds to a call about a woman possibly overdosing on heroin. “You’re not going to get in trouble:” A fireman tries to convince her to go to the hospital. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Lawrence Mulligan Jr, Mayor of Middletown, doesn’t think the opioid problem is worse here than in the surrounding area: It’s just more openly discussed. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
First responders

Lawrence Mulligan Jr, Mayor of Middletown, doesn’t think the opioid problem is worse here than in the surrounding area: It’s just more openly discussed. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. The service focuses on addiction — and the help that Christ can offer. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Spiritual outreach

Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. The service focuses on addiction — and the help that Christ can offer. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio.<br> Photo by Mary F. Calvert </p>
Spiritual outreach

Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio.
Photo by Mary F. Calvert

<p>Gene Robinson, a recovering heroin addict. He first used heroin in 2009, after finding his then-wife dead of a painkiller overdose.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Spiritual outreach

Gene Robinson, a recovering heroin addict. He first used heroin in 2009, after finding his then-wife dead of a painkiller overdose.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Spiritual outreach

Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. “Addiction can take us as its slaves,” announces the pastor. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Spiritual outreach

Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. “Addiction can take us as its slaves,” announces the pastor. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. When the pastor asks if they would like to bow their heads and pray, they do. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Spiritual outreach

Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. When the pastor asks if they would like to bow their heads and pray, they do. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. A young boy picks at cereal.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Spiritual outreach

Neighborhood residents attend a free Sunday breakfast and church service at La Requena Belen church in Middletown, Ohio. A young boy picks at cereal.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Gene Robinson and Terri Fugate have been together for two years. Gene is a recovering heroin addict, now on Suboxone. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Recovery

Gene Robinson and Terri Fugate have been together for two years. Gene is a recovering heroin addict, now on Suboxone. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Larry Fugate is a recovering heroin addict at home in Middletown, Ohio. Five months ago, his mom Terri Fugate resuccitated him after a heroin overdose. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Recovery

Larry Fugate is a recovering heroin addict at home in Middletown, Ohio. Five months ago, his mom Terri Fugate resuccitated him after a heroin overdose. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Larry Fugate is a recovering heroin addict at home in Middletown, Ohio. His mom Terri Fugate found him hen he overdosed. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Recovery

Larry Fugate is a recovering heroin addict at home in Middletown, Ohio. His mom Terri Fugate found him hen he overdosed. (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Larry Fugate, a recovering heroin addict at home in Middletown, writes music: “Blues Clues couldn’t solve this — mystery. Cocaine, amphetamine, codeine dreams — a fiend.” (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Recovery

Larry Fugate, a recovering heroin addict at home in Middletown, writes music: “Blues Clues couldn’t solve this — mystery. Cocaine, amphetamine, codeine dreams — a fiend.” (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

<p>Gene Robinson, middle, talks to his step-son Larry Fugate, left, and far right, mom Terri Fugate at their home in Middletown, Ohio. Both men are recovering heroin addicts.<br> (Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News) </p>
Recovery

Gene Robinson, middle, talks to his step-son Larry Fugate, left, and far right, mom Terri Fugate at their home in Middletown, Ohio. Both men are recovering heroin addicts.
(Photograph by Mary F. Calvert for Yahoo News)

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