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WKYC Heroin Special Tonight

By Rich Heldenfels Published: April 18, 2013

The official word: WKYC TV is preempting its 7pm newscast on Thursday, April 18th for a special, hour long program designed to educate viewers about what is becoming a heroin epidemic across Northeast Ohio.

“We were approached by a group of concerned citizens in Geauga County who are alarmed at the rate by which young people are dying from this epidemic, said Rita Andolsen, WKYC’s Director of Advocacy & Community Initiatives. “After looking into the issue, we learned heroin use and subsequent deaths are a problem across our entire region. We decided to put the resources of our station behind the issue and do something about it”.

Anchored by medical reporter Monica Robins, the special takes an in-depth look at what’s causing the epidemic and the cost, literally and figuratively, of addiction to the families whose loved ones fall victim to this drug.

In Cuyahoga County alone, the number of heroin deaths has increased by 177% from 2007-2012. The statistics in surrounding counties are equally alarming. During this hour long special, medical and mental health professionals weigh in on what’s causing this epidemic and what it’s going to take to stem the tide. Families and recovering users share their stories in the hope they can help saves lives.

A web chat will immediately follow the documentary with a panel of medical professionals that includes: Dr. Ted Parrran, St. Vincent Medical Center, Orlando Howard, Clinical Manager, St. Vincent Medical Center, Christina Delos Reyes, M.D. ADAMHS Board, Dennis Michelson, Drug Treatment Counselor, Lake and Geauga Recovery Centers, and Geauga County Safety Center, Carla and Rob Brandt, founders of “Robby’s Voice”

Channel 3 is working with numerous county drug task forces, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, addicts and their families to provide an in-depth look at the problem. From our documentary, WKYC will create a 15 minute DVD for use in schools, PTA meetings and other educational outreach. We are asking area schools to partner with WKYC and agree to show this DVD in assemblies or health classes in middle and high schools before the end of the school year or at the start of the next school year.

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