Jaime Durst, from Centre County, said she was 28 years old when she began abusing drugs and alcohol.
“I don’t know how that started; it was just some of the people I was hanging with,” said Durst, who realized she needed to seek treatment for her opioid addiction. “All of a sudden it became really bad. I was desperate. I was like, ‘I need help,’ and it’s hard to ask for help.”
Durst’s story is one of several shared about opioids and recovery through “Battling Opioids,” a collaborative project between Pennsylvania’s public media stations, that aims to bring awareness and provide resources for individuals struggling with addiction. The stations jointly produced “Battling Opioids: A Project of Pennsylvania Public Media,” which will air at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, on WPSU-TV.
According to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were an estimated 5,655 drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in the 12-month period leading up to December 2017 — more than 15 per day — most of them from opioids.
Stories will air on WPSU-TV beginning Sept. 20 and are available online through the “Battling Opioids” website.
- “HealthSmart: Drugs and Young People”
- Thursday, Sept. 20, at 10 p.m.
- Young recovering addicts share their stories
- “HealthSmart: On the Front Line of the Opioid Crisis”
- Thursday, Sept. 20, at 10:30 p.m.
- First responders are on the front line of the opioid epidemic
- “Understanding the Opioid Epidemic”
- Sunday, Sept. 23, at 11 p.m.
- Stories of people impacted by the opioid epidemic and information from experts
- “Broken: Women-Families-Opioids”
- Monday, Sept. 24, at 9:30 p.m.
- Explore how opioid addiction among women is breaking the family bond and changing the fabric of society
- “Battling Opioids: A Project of Pennsylvania Public Media”
- Thursday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m.
- A Pennsylvania’s public television collaborative sharing stories of recovery and hope
- “HealthSmart: The Opioid Epidemic”
- Sunday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m.
- Experts and people in recovery talk about what’s happening now and how they plan to get a handle on the drug crisis
- “Heroin: A Commonwealth Crisis”
- Sunday, Sept. 30, at 10 p.m.
- A panel of experts explain what led to the heroin crisis in Pennsylvania and provide information on prevention and treatment
WPSU-FM also will produce opioid-related stories, including a special “Take Note” at 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, featuring Jason Snyder, a regional director of outpatient services for Pinnacle Treatment Centers. Snyder, who is in recovery, has lost two brothers to opioid overdoses.
Durst, also in recovery, is receiving medically assisted treatment through Addiction Solutions in Centre County.
“Since I've been on it, I've bought a house, I have my car, I've worked at my job for three-and-a-half years," she said. “I'm a different person.”
“Battling Opioids” is a collaborative project between Pennsylvania’s seven public media stations: WPSU, WHYY (Philadelphia), WITF (Harrisburg), WLVT/PSB39 (Greater Lehigh Valley), WQED (Pittsburgh), WQLN (northwestern Pennsylvania) and WVIA (northeastern Pennsylvania).
Visit the WPSU website for more information on the project.