Pt. 1 Hooked: One Family’s Ordeal With Fentanyl for The Wall Street Journal

“When his son fell prey to America’s latest drug scourge, Joel Murphy, a funeral-home worker, knew his family had plenty of company. He could see it in the faces of the dead. Many of the corpses he picked up on the job were men in their 20s, with close-cropped hair, baseball caps and gaunt frames. They made him think of his youngest son, Joseph. “I see him sometimes, I see him in a lot of them,” he said.

This is the human toll of the illegally made painkiller fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic that presents a new level of peril in the opioid crisis ravaging the U.S. Up to 50 times as powerful as heroin, and cheaper to produce, fentanyl is the end result of a drug trade that has proven wildly innovative and difficult to stop.”

You can read the whole story here: Hooked: One Family’s Ordeal With Fentanyl

Pt. 2: A Fentanyl Addict Climbs Back

“Relaxing on the sofa in the townhouse apartment he shares with his wife, Joseph Murphy beamed. His wife, Stephanie, was expecting, and he had a part-time job doing physical work at a nearby community college. He was also scouring for full-time work in the heating and cooling field. The apartment, the job and the baby on the way seemed impossible to the 25-year-old Mr. Murphy last year, when he was addicted to a bootleg version of the potent opioid fentanyl, which he used with crack. “I was pretty much getting high every day,” he recalled.

On Dec. 12, he reached 11 months in recovery from a six-year addiction that spiraled through opioid pills, heroin, fentanyl, jail time for attempted burglary and a nearly fatal overdose. Now focused on remaining abstinent, he recently completed court-ordered counseling sessions.”

You can read the updated story here: A Fentanyl Addict Climbs Back