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Opioid Crisis and Musial Instruments (VOA Connect Ep 31)


VOA -- CONNECT

EPISODE 31
AIR DATE: 08 17 2018

FULL TRANSCRIPT

OPEN ((VO/NAT))
((Banner))
Opioids in America

((SOT))
They need to make them go to rehab and if not, lock them up. They got churches there. They got GED programs there. They got mechanical stuff there that they could do. Open up a rehab in jail. Help them get their lives together.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Making it through Music

((SOT))
I'm trying to reach for the stars and trying to slowly progress. One day, I want to express that I made it.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

The Art of Making Music

((SOT))
It takes all your energy and all your effort to just do it and to put everything together to get the first organ built.
((Open Animation))

BLOCK A
((Banner:
Living America”s Opioid Nightmare))

((ANIMATION W/ GFX, CAPTIONS, PHOTOS))

((Popup Banner
More than 115 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.
VOA looks at three stories from the epidemic.))

((PKG)) OPIOIDS – HEROIN HELL -- PART 2
((Banner: Heroin Hell: Part 2))
((Producers
: Chris Simkins, Jeff Swicord, Jacquelyn De Phillips))

((Camera: Jeff Swicord, Chris Simkins, Marcus Harton))
((Map: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania))

((NATS))
Britt
: Want some water?
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Working with the homeless addicts just was second nature to me and just became something that I'm meant to do. I mean, I actually feel that it's my mission.
((NATS))

Britt: It’s not too full, but it serves the purpose.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
I was involved in a car accident in 2001. Broke my shoulder in five places and they prescribed pain pills for it. My body started needing them and I wasn't functioning. I'm not a person that does rehab very well. Went to Florida, got clean. And then, I met the wrong person. It was just a person who wasn't good for me or vice versa, and started to lead me down the opiate path again.
((NATS))

Britt: Here’s a poncho and a clean t-shirt. A dry t-shirt for later.
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Then it just became a downward spiral of over four years of pure hell. I overdosed. I woke up to having paramedics and a cop standing over me, and the cop looked at me and said, "You're lucky we're not busy today."
((NATS))

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
I started in the corporate world way back in the early 90s. I got ill, pretty ill for my age, and I had very major surgery and the surgeons said to me, usually it's because of a lifestyle, and maybe it was time to re-evaluate that lifestyle. So, I ended up quitting my corporate job and leaving my comfy six figure salary.

((NATS))

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
I've always loved animals. They are such unconditional loving creatures. Plus, for me it's a little bit of therapy too, to be around the animals. I have my three dogs and four cats and they're all going to be there and they're not going to judge me on what happened that day and they're not going to upset me about anything. They're just going to be there because they want to make me happy.
((NATS))
((Britt Carpenter
, Philly Unknown Project))
Started dog walking business in 2012. I hired dog walkers and pet sitters when I was working in the corporate world. I knew what I wanted out of them, so I figured why not give that to my clients? I have eight employees. If one thing has been consistent, it's been the fact that we all become a family, and we all become comfortable with each other, and we all become familiar, and are able to back each other up, and have each other's back at all times.

((NATS))
((Britt Carpenter
, Philly Unknown Project))
I started working with people on the streets when I was 15 years of age. I’ve been doing it on what I consider to be a very full-time basis for the past four years.
((NATS))

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
After many years of being on and off the streets, Eric finally made the decision to get himself into rehab and get some treatment, and to get clean. For somebody to actually get to the point where they have realized that it is time to get off the streets, get off the heroin, get off the opiates, is when they have made peace with themselves and they become ready to become who they used to be.

((Eric, Addicted to Heroin..and..Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Eric: Day after day it was raining. I was wet, sick. My legs were like getting bad infected again.

Britt: Are you done?

Eric: I’m, I’m done.

Britt: You're done?

Eric: I'm done. I'm worn out. I'm tired. And I can’t do this no more. I’m a human being and I deserve a chance at a good life. Right now, I've been in the program going on 30 days.

Britt: Okay. And how do you feel at this point then?

Eric: Mentally, I'm getting there. You know what I mean? Like there's a lot of depression, you know, coming out of the fog. You know what I mean? I’m taking everything very slow. I am accepting everything very slow. I’m not putting high expectations on myself. And for now, I’m good with that.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Somebody like Eric or anybody that has been in long term addiction, they need to recognize what made them want to use on a daily basis. For Eric, he's going to have a lot of triggers. He's going to have a lot of memories that will bring him to places that were very uncomfortable. He needs to gain people around him who support him, yet they don't enable him.

((Eric, Addicted to Heroin..and..Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Eric: I'm going to keep trying to contact with my family, and keep contact with them, and I'll keep the door open.

Britt: What do you need to do for them to understand the support you need? What do you need to give to them?

Eric: I need to be honest. And I need to be honest with the help that I need. You can't build a house on sand, because if you build a house on sand, it's just going to slide. And once I get my solid foundation, I'll be able to move forward. Everything is baby steps right now.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
What Eric realized at this point in time is that his next relapse could be the last. And I think that's something that's going to drive him to want to continue to get better.

((Eric, Addicted to Heroin..and..Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Britt: I think at this point, you are on your way back. So, welcome back, my friend.


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up….
((Banner))
Heroin Hell continues
((SOT))
I lived on this block for 21 years. My mom’s the homeowner. I’m not going to leave her stuck here. I refuse that because at the end of the day, we a team and I'll be damned if people, who have no respect for themselves or other people, is going to run me out of here.

BREAK ONE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK B
((Banner: Heroin Hell continues))


((PKG)) OPIOIDS – HEROIN HELL -- PART 2 CONTINUES
((NATS))

Kelly: If y’all needed underwear, you could have just asked me instead of stealing it.

((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin))
I can't live out here no more. I'm 34 years old and it’s just, it’s too much anymore.

((NATS))

((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin))
The chaos, and the ***** and the lifestyle. How could anybody possibly want to live in that? Something addictive about it. We're supposed to be taking care of each other. We're supposed to be behind each other. Not behind each other with the knife out waiting to stab them in the back.

((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin))
I got caught in a sting, which I must say, going two years out here without getting in handcuffs is quite the feat. I copped and as I was walking back, he just popped out from behind the wall and grabbed my hands, put me in cuffs.
((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin))
The people suck. The drugs suck. It's just miserable. I’m tired. It's tense. Like, people just bully people. I'm a small little white girl so, it'd be easy to push me around, you know. I tried the two times to go away, like, it’s frustrating. I will find any ***** excuse, probably every addict does. Today, I mean, I would like to get over to Prevention Point and find out about the methadone outpatient clinic. When I was on methadone before, it worked quite well for me. I was in school. I had a job. I had my own place. I was every bit of functional.
((NATS))
((
Melissa Caraballo, Kensington Resident))
I lived on this block for 21 years. My mom’s the homeowner. I’m not going to leave her stuck here. I refuse that because at the end of the day, we a team and I'll be damned if people, who have no respect for themselves or other people, is going to run me out of here.
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Kensington is a place that people were born and raised, and don't have the opportunity to leave because that's all they know or that's their home and they can't afford anywhere else. Most of the people who are there in addiction aren't from Kensington.
((NATS))
((Melissa Caraballo, Kensington Resident))
A crackpipe. This is everything. We just picked some up that was out here.
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
There’s some very long-term residents in that community that have a really sour taste in their mouths about what's going on. A majority of them are done. They want this to be over. They want their neighborhood back.
((Melissa Caraballo, Kensington Resident))
They come from under the bridge. They get high. They go into abandoned houses. They still walk around here high, dipping, with my kids outside. Kids across the street playing. They go to Prevention Point to get their clean needles and still they lay around here.
((Dana Robell, Kensington Resident))
Prevention Point is a joke. They don't got money for schools but then they're making safe spots for them to get high. For what? To come back out here, to keep dipping when the children need it to improve the school systems.
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
They feel a lot of the programs are just enabling the people there to continue to use and not get better.
((NATS))
((Melissa Caraballo, Kensington Resident..and..Dana Robell, Kensington Resident))
Melissa:
I just feel as though they look at it , like, they're not a problem because they're homeless or they're an addict and they got this wannabe disease that people label them having. But it's not a disease. It's not. To me, it's not a disease at all.
Dana: No. It's not. It's a choice.
Melissa: It's a choice.

Melissa: They need to make them go to rehab and if not, lock them up. They got churches there. They got GED programs there. They got mechanical stuff there that they could do. Open up a rehab in jail. Help them get their lives together.
((NATS))
((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin..and..Britt Carpenter
, Philly Unknown Project))
Britt:
Anything good going on?
Kelly: Some good.
Britt: All right. Like what?

Kelly: Just pursuing treatment, just the fact that I am pursuing treatment.
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
The last time that I talked to Kelly, she was not ready to get treatment. Talking to her today, she’s at that point. She’s hit rock bottom and she's ready.
((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin..and..Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Britt:
We talked about detox before and you talked about it again and you're afraid of that, huh?

Kelly: Yes.

Britt: What's the fear in detox?
Kelly: It’s a horrible experience. I hate being dope sick. If there was a way to avoid dope sick, many of them would not be out here.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Going clean isn't an easy task and doing it without having any type of opiate going through your system will make you sick. It’ll give you the chills. It’ll give you the sweats, the fevers, nauseous. You can't sleep. It feels like somebody is ripping the insides of you out. However, once they get past that part, the rest is easy.
((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin..and..Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Britt:
This life isn't what you want.
Kelly: No.
Britt: You’re sick of it.
Kelly: Right. How long do I keep waiting before it kills me?
Britt: Afraid of dying, huh?
Kelly: Honestly, up until like now-ish, I really didn't care if it did or did not. It has recently taken my brother.
Britt: And how recent?
Kelly: Very.

Britt: Very.

Kelly: Very.

Britt: Were you close?

Kelly: Yes.

Britt: So, it's hit home.

Kelly: Yes.

Britt: Really close to home?

Kelly: Yes. My brother fell asleep behind the wheel, coming back from Kensington on the boulevard.
Britt: Last time we talked about family and you were done. We talked about your mom where you were sad. We're talking about your brother where you were angry. Two different emotions.
Kelly: Yeah.
Britt: Yeah.
Kelly: I was angry at her a little bit then too because of her decision to pull the plug. Can't be 'cause he'd had done it himself once he was capable of it. That probably would have been the first thing that he did with his ability to walk or use his hands again. He wouldn't have walked, so use his hands again.
Britt: How you feeling today?
Kelly: I'm still pissed.
Britt: You’re pissed?
Kelly: I'm mad. I did not know he was coming down here. If you're that ***** mangled, I know you get high. You know where to find me.
Britt: So, if I asked you then, you know, since, in 60 days from now, where do you hope to be? Where do you hope to be? I’d say 30 days but you haven't started yet. You have to get to that point. So, 60 days?
Kelly: Not here.
Britt: Not here but.....
Kelly: God I will hate myself it I’m not outta here. I really will. I will have a hard time if I'm still under this bridge in 60 days.
Britt: So, you really want to do the long haul?
Kelly: I am looking to do long-term methadone.
Britt: Well I'll tell you what, I hope 60 days from now, I can actually visit you there.
Kelly: Me too. I've already done it. I’ve done it. It's not impossible.
Britt: I am sending so much positive energy to you today, and from the rest because I know you can do this. Come here.
Kelly: I don't want to fall off this wall.
Britt: That’s it. You got it. Come here. You are amazing.
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
I saw a different Kelly today. I saw some hope. I saw somebody that had a little bit more resilience in her than she did the last time, and was ready to bounce back, and make a difference, and make a change.
((Popup Banner

Living America’s Opioid Nightmare
continues on VOA Connect in the weeks to come))


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up….
((Banner))
Music Makers
((SOT))
I’m the accordionist with the United States Air Force Strolling Strings. It’s too enjoyable to stop.


BREAK TWO
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK C
((Banner:
Making Music))


((PKG)) ORGAN FACTORY
((Banner:
Organ Makers))
((Reporter:
Lesia Bakalets))
((Camera:
Sergey Sokolov))
((Adapted by:
Martin Secrest))
((Map:
Chattanooga, Tennessee))
((Banner:
Richards, Fowkes and Co. has been building pipe organs for 30 years))

((RALPH RICHARDS, CO-OWNER, RICHARDS, FOWKES AND CO.))

I fell in love with the organ almost instantly. It was like, ‘Wow.’ And it’s an interesting instrument with so much history. Up until the Industrial Revolution, the organ was the largest, most complicated and loudest musical instrument in existence. The only things louder than an organ were thunder or cannon. Every single small detail in these organs is important, from the initial design, the construction of the parts, how they’re fit together, how they’re glued together. All of it’s one piece.

((NATS))
((BRUCE FOWKES, CO-OWNER, RICHARDS, FOWKES AND CO.))

I mean, a small organ can have less than a thousand pipes in it, and a cathedral organ might have 10-thousand pipes in it. Everything I have, you know, is involved in this workshop, you know, all of my handmade jigs, and machines that are specifically tailored to building pipe organs.
((NATS))

((RALPH RICHARDS, CO-OWNER, RICHARDS, FOWKES AND CO.))

You saw the metal pipes being made. When those are rolled together, there’s no way to determine the precise, exactly, diameter. It could change by half a millimeter easily, and it might not be perfectly round. So, we have to fit those pipes into (a) rack, and make sure that they fit perfectly. But, we put it together almost like a giant puzzle, piece by piece, fitting every piece, until it’s all together, and then we want to make sure also that it plays. We don’t make every pipe work in the shop, but we want to make sure that the mechanical system works, that there are no leaks in the wind system, because pinholes can cause leaks.
Organ builders, in history, have never made a lot of money. There are long hours. Often, we refer to it almost as a disease. You know, you get into this profession because this is what you want to do with your life. And if you have the disease, kind of, you have no choice. And that’s how Bruce and I’ve felt since we fell in love with building organs. What else could I do that would have this much, this many interesting things going on all the time.

((NATS))


((PKG)) GUITAR MAKING
((Banner: Guitar Makers))
((Reporter/Camera:
Deborah Block))
((Adapted by:
Zdenko Novacki))
((Map:
Manassas, Virginia))
((SKIP CHAPLES, FOUNDER, MUSIC FOR LIFE))
Music for Life is about providing music education opportunities to low income youth. Music programs can be extremely valuable in helping shape a child, developing their soft skills as well as some of their academic skills, and so forth. And the problem is in our public school systems today, music programs have been cut back, and they’ve become expensive, with various fees and so forth, so low income youth are not able to participate.
((KEVIN HERNANDEZ, STUDENT))
I'm trying to reach for the stars and trying to slowly progress in society. We're living in a trailer right now, but one day I want to express that I touched the stars, and that I made it.
((JAIDEN BORBA, STUDENT))
There's a lot of different steps, and don't think that it's really easy to build it. It takes time and effort.
((SKIP CHAPLES, FOUNDER, MUSIC FOR LIFE))
((NATS))
OK. So, if you’re OK here, and you’re sharp here, that means your string is too short.
((JARRIN WILDMAN, STUDENT))
If you get one thing wrong, even just by a millimeter, then the length of the string won't be right and you won't get the correct note on your strings.
((SKIP CHAPLES, FOUNDER, MUSIC FOR LIFE))
We started this program when a Boy Scout, one of my Boy Scout Eagles Scouts, was tragically shot and killed back in February of 2006. And he was an avid guitar player, and his parents wanted to do something that would give back to the community. So, I got together with the parents, a couple of other parents, and we started an organization.
((NATS))
((SKIP CHAPLES, FOUNDER, MUSIC FOR LIFE))
We use music, because music has more value than any other single activity. Music has been shown to help with cognitive skills. It helps relieve stress and tension that kids may feel if they’re low income and are in a world of denial, where they can’t have this, and they can’t have that.
((AUDREY DONE, STUDENT))
It's a lot to do with electricity. It's a lot about grounding, and how to conduct it to make music, and how much is needed, and how to make the notes the way you want it to be.
((SKIP CHAPLES, FOUNDER, MUSIC FOR LIFE))
The most comment we get about that is the fact, “I built something for myself. I built my own musical instrument. It’s mine. I did it. I actually figured out how to do it.”
((NATS))

((PKG)) ACCORDION PLAYERS
((Banner: Just Playing))

((Reporter/Camera: Jill Craig))
((Adapted by:
Philip Alexiou))

((Map: Alexandria, Virginia))
((JOAN GRAUMAN, HISTORIAN, AMERICAN ACCORDIONISTS’ ASSOCIATION))

This is our 80th anniversary celebration and the most wonderful part of that is the governing board of the American Accordionists Association. We are a group of volunteers who just love our instrument.
((NATS))
((JOAN GRAUMAN, HISTORIAN, AMERICAN ACCORDIONISTS’ ASSOCIATION))
The accordion has given us so much joy in our lives that it’s our pleasure to give back. And we love to see the young people learning, and we get to see them year after year, growing up and expanding their musical abilities, and to see our friends again. It’s a wonderful reunion.
((ALEX CHUDOLIJ, ACCORDIONIST))
Being from an ethnic background, I’ve grown up in a Ukrainian community all my life, with children’s groups and resorts in the Catskills, and stuff like that. And actually, from the age of 15 to 23, I had a house band or played in the house band at the resort. So, I love the folk music. It was all around me. I was in a folk dance ensemble until I played the accordion well enough that they threw me out of the ensemble, said, “you’re going to play for us not dance in it.”
((JOAN GRAUMAN, HISTORIAN, AMERICAN ACCORDIONISTS’ ASSOCIATION))
We put on all kinds of special events at this festival.
((NATS))
((FRANK BUSSO JR., ACCORDIONIST))
I’m the accordionist with the United States Air Force Strolling Strings. It’s too enjoyable to stop. You know, I’ve been playing now 33 years, and there’s never a shortage of performance opportunities and a great opportunity to make people happy and enjoying music and have a good time.
((NATS))
((FRANK BUSSO JR., ACCORDIONIST))
You know, there are some times when we might show up to a dinner at the chief of staff’s house, and there might be some tension between our leaders and the leaders of the visiting nation. And then we’ll go into the residence and perform a selection or two from that guest nation, from the hometown perhaps of the leader, and all of a sudden, it seems like the tension goes away a little bit. And we’ve been told that sometimes after we perform, that’s when some real discussion and progress is made. So, we help to break that ice in a very friendly way.
((NATS))


CLOSING ((ANIM))
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BREAK THREE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


SHOW ENDS

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