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Opioid Crisis and Government Shutdown (VOA Connect Ep 54)


VOA – CONNECT

EPISODE 54
AIR DATE 01 25 2019

TRANSCRIPT

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

((SOT))
I don’t want a woman to feel that there is no place for her to go.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Cows for Sale

((SOT))
I am going to do my best to market these people’s cows. A lot of times this is the only paycheck they’ll get all year.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Feds getting Fed

((SOT))
I am a furloughed federal employee and not being paid and we still have regular bills to pay and everything.
((Open Animation))

BLOCK A
((PKG))
((Banner:

Living America’s Opioid Nightmare))
((Popup Banner

More than 115 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.
VOA looks at three stories from the epidemic))
((PKG)) Chief Bashore – Part 4
((Producers: Jeff Swicord, Chris Simkins, Jacquelyn De Phillips))
((Camera:
Jeff Swicord, Chris Simkins, Mike Burke, Marcus Harton))
((Map:
Edgecombe County, North Carolina))
((NATS))

((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))
We're in Rocky Mount. There are two counties that Rocky Mount encompasses: Edgecombe and Nash. The railroad tracks kind of goes straight down the middle of it. This is a predominantly African-American neighborhood, a lot of unemployment here, especially on this side of the tracks, and it becomes a magnet for illegal drug sales. What we see is that individuals that have a real problem with substance use disorder, they can't be responsible enough to get up and go to work on a regular basis, and so they lose their employment and then they fall back on family to kind of support them and then ultimately they end up ruining those relationships because of all the lying, manipulation, stealing that occurs. It's a perpetual cycle that makes it much more difficult.
((NATS))
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))

I did spend a lot of time over here in the eight years that I was working narcotics in Rocky Mount. A lot of these houses are what we call shotgun houses. Some of them don't even have working electricity in them. They're just meet up or hang out spots for drug dealers. People come and go constantly. This little park here, you know, is a big hangout spot. We've seen drug deals go down right here in the playground with kids around. Many of these houses have been hit multiple times with search warrants. I've been in houses where you know the grandmother lives and the grandson has moved back in with her and starts to deal drugs out of the house, and, you know, they feel helpless. They've been intimidated. They feel like they can't say anything because they don't want to get their grandchild in trouble or if they do say anything then they'll get, they'll get harmed.
((NATS))
Police to suspect: Let’s go upstairs.
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))
It seemed to me, like in those particular instances, when you would arrest someone and nothing would happen. Even if they went to jail, they would be out on bond right away. It wasn't much of a deterrent.
*****

((Vanessa Skaife, Founder/Director, The Lighthouse Home))
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))


((NATS))
Resident:
My medicine will come down, my Seroquel, and I will take that like crazy just to sleep.
((Vanessa Skaife, Founder/Director, The Lighthouse Home))
Vanessa:
I know, baby. I’m just saying the reason why you have to stay clean ‘cause you have, you’re dual diagnosed.
Resident: Right.
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))
I met Vanessa a little over a year ago. She runs a home in Rocky Mount. She’s providing a venue for people that are in between trying to get their lives back together, provides them a safe place, room and board….
((NATS))
Shirley:
Angie, dinner’s ready.
Bashore: ….food, a sense of family.
Angie: Oh, it smells good.
((Vanessa Skaife, Founder/Director, The Lighthouse Home))
Drugs were always in my environment. My brother passed away 15 years ago, one of the sweetest souls on the planet, at the age of 15. He was in the throes of addiction, through his heroin. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I didn't have a feeling of the inner mental state of a mature woman because of my drug use. It pushed me into an emotional roller-coaster that eventually caused a disaster in my life. So, I didn't have the power to numb that voice out that kept saying, ‘don't do this one. You're going to die.’ You can live without breasts. You need to stay around to help someone else.
((NATS))
Angie: You must have been because I remember.
((Vanessa Skaife, Founder/Director, The Lighthouse Home))
At the end of my road, there were still choices for me and that was jails, institutions or death. I didn't mind the latter. So, I made a decision to listen to the voice on the inside and not die and I went and got some help.
((NATS))
Vanessa: Shirley?
Shirley: Yes.
((Vanessa Skaife, Founder/Director, The Lighthouse Home))
I don't have an institution. I have a home in a community that is available for any woman who is seeking to get on the other side of her horror. I don't want a woman to feel that there is no place for her to go.
*****

((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))
((Vanessa Skaife, Founder/Director, The Lighthouse Home))

((Holly, Former Lighthouse Resident))
((NATS))
Bashore:
Where do most of your referrals come from?
Vanessa: First, my alumni’s will tell me they have someone. And then hospitals and institutions, treatment centers, now correction office facilities, so prisons as well.
Bashore: So, Holly, we have started to see a lot more opiate use in African-American communities. So, what's your perception of that?
((Holly, Former Lighthouse Resident))
Holly: Well, I think that's because most black people don't go to the doctor and get opioids. They get them off the street. You know, the people who go to the doctor and get them, go out, sell them. They sell them to black people and then the cycle continues.
Bashore: Right. What do you suppose some of the challenges are for African-Americans to seek out treatment or get into treatment?
Holly: Well, the first thing I think of would be just the shame of asking for help and then knowing where to go to get it.
Bashore: Are there financial constraints? I mean, do they think about that?
Holly: Sure, because a lot of places charge for help, you know, and many African-Americans don't have health insurance. So, they can't pay for a 30-day treatment center.
Bashore: So, you know that we started the Hope Initiative in February of 2016.
Vanessa: Yes.
Bashore: And we had a number of ladies that we've supported to come through the Lighthouse.
Vanessa: Absolutely.
Bashore: But what I've seen is that it's been a very small percentage of the African-American community. What are some things that the Hope Initiative can do to reach out?
Vanessa: There are disparities between a black woman and a white woman. A white woman would go to a doctor’s more often than a black woman. Where you would have to meet the black woman would be outreach. The Health Department is where they go. That entity alone, social services, is the backbone of the community. You don't have that hope until a social worker says, 'We have a place. Don't worry about the funding. You need to get help. All you need to do is keep staying clean and follow some rules.'
Bashore: And I would imagine that they build some initial trust with their caseworker there.
Vanessa: Yes, absolutely.
Bashore: So, if the caseworker there is recommending, you know, to go to this particular program or through this program, it would be a little easier than just me coming in there and saying, ‘Hey, this is what I got available. Trust me and come on down.’
Vanessa: Right.
Bashore: I gotcha.
*****

((Vanessa Skaife, Founder/Director, The Lighthouse Home))
((Dwight Hines, Recovered Heroin Addict))
((NATS))
Vanessa:
So, I knew heroin was part of your story, but I didn't know the depth of it.
((Dwight Hines, Recovered Heroin Addict))

Dwight: I was running away. You know, I was telling you I was working. I was in corrections and I was doing pretty good. I had a couple houses in New York, and, but the big H came along.
Vanessa: Heroin.
Dwight: Heroin. I met a female that was actively using and we started hanging out and the next thing you know, she said, ‘well, here, try this’, you know, and she shot me up for the first time and to tell you the truth Vanessa, I still remember the day, I mean, this is heaven.
Vanessa: Yep.
Dwight: And it was off to the races after that. Needless to say, I lost my wife, I lost my houses, lost my job.
Vanessa: Yeah. How did you get here?
Dwight: I got a friend of mine I used go to school with. He ended up working for the DEA and he called me and said, ‘My name was on the ‘to look at list.’
Vanessa: Oh, oh, oh, for a job. Oh, for dealers.
Dwight: Right.
Vanessa: Oh, you were muling, too?
Dwight: Right, right. I was dealing and I was working with corrections and I knew I had to do something different.
Vanessa: Yes.
Dwight: And then once he called me and told me, I kinda vested my rights on a job and got the first thing smoking down here. Got to Raleigh. No matter where you go, you gonna find the people you want to find.
Vanessa: You're going to find what you want.
Dwight: Yeah. And I was looking at it and I said, man, these guys don't know drugs. I know drugs. So, I kind of started doing.
Vanessa: They showed me, though.
Dwight: Yeah. I started running back and forth to New York to pick it up and dealing in Raleigh and I said, these guys, man, I’m going to take over this spot. Well, the young guys weren't having it, you know? And I went to the store one day and they snuck up on me a little bit and they said, ‘You know, you just came back from New York. Give us the stuff.’ And I didn't.
Vanessa: Uh oh.
Dwight: I didn’t, I wasn’t. They got me at the wrong time and then I was like, I refused to give it up and I had a can of dog food in a plastic bag and I went to swing it and the guy behind me shot me with a .380 right in my butt. I still got the bullet in it. So, I got to keep that. That reminds me, you know. And the guy in front of me with a .22 went through my arm, but I thought he hit me in the head, what knocked me down, and I was laying in the blood and I said, I've got to get out of here. And now it's like no, no compulsion whatever with shooting, you know what I mean? Nothing, absolutely nothing. So, what happens is it's a whole different ballgame. Now it's like you are scared. You are scared to come out of your house because you don't know what's going on with the gangs. You know, just do a home improvement in the neighborhood and the next thing you know, you hear pop, pop, pop, pop. Now it's like you don't know what's going to happen. Yeah, you got a gang….
Vanessa: High school kids.
Dwight: Yeah, they're just doing all kinds of craziness. I mean, you see it now. What? Get, get some guy killed. It was a couple of weeks ago.
Vanessa: Yeah. It seems like every weekend.
Dwight: Pow, pow, pow, you know. And you never know what's going to happen when you come out the door. It’s not the same. I mean it's, it's worse.
*****
((Banner

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


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
“Til the Cows Come Home
((SOT))
How pretty you sound probably adds credibility to you but I know a lot of great auctioneers that probably aren’t the best bid callers. Ultimately your job is to get the most money that you can.

BREAK ONE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK B


((PKG)) Livestock Auctioneer
((Banner: On the Job: Auctioneer))
((Reporter/Camera: Arturo Martínez))
((Map:
Caldwell, Idaho))

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

My name is Zack Zumstein and I'm a professional auctioneer. I primarily work at Treasure Valley Livestock as a cattle auctioneer.

((NATS))
((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

My job is to talk up the cattle as they walk in, tell them the good points about them, work with the buyers and market those cattle to the best of my ability. And I think it's the best way for you to find the true market value of those animals, by just running them through a ring and basically letting the free market decide what those calves are worth.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

How pretty you sound, it probably adds credibility to you, but I know a lot of great auctioneers that probably aren't the best bid callers. Ultimately, your job is to get the most money that you can for the product in front of you.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

And then you add in your filler words and that's what everybody likes, is what makes it sound pretty: "dollar down dear down" or "dollar bidder down here", "I got 10 but I want 20".

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

It helps keep your chant together.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

When I was a little kid, growing up here around the yard, I always would tell my folks that when I grew up, I was going to be a cattle auctioneer.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

You can make a career with it, totally. It takes a lot of work and I was extremely fortunate to have a family business where I could come in.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

You can kind of look at their backs and you can see how fleshy the cow is and get a pretty good idea for what they're going to bring. I can kind of guess. A cow like that right there's probably worth all 700 bucks, and this Longhorn cow right here, she's probably worth somewhere around 300 to 400 dollars.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I think an order buyer can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of those feeder calves are gonna be worth over a $1,000 a piece and they go in and buy. It will only take a few seconds to spend $50,000 or more.

((Nick Anesse, Cattle commission buyer))

I'm a commission buyer and this time of year is our busy year. It's pretty easy to spend $100 - $200,000 a day, five days a week.

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

Every buyer bids a little bit differently. Some of them are coming and watch you like this and other ones just barely move their finger. I try to keep track and keep a hand kind of pointed to the guy who's in or the guy I'm asking. It's a really mentally intense job.
((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I'm gonna be doing my best to market these people's cows. This is a lot of time. It’s the only pay check that they'll get all year.

((NATS))

((Van Neilson, Cattle Farmer))

Yeah, we need these auctions, especially us small guys, because these cattle buyers don't want to come and buy 15 head of calves. They want to come and buy 200 or 300. If he's a good auctioneer, he can really work them buyers and get you a few more cents.

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I think that if you want to do this, you might as well go for it and be the best, and that's what I'm trying to do. I just got done qualifying to make it to my third semi-finals to be the world champion. So, that's one of my goals that I'd like to do someday.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

Is that the baby calf?

I'd love it if he wanted to be an auctioneer. I'd help him out, kind of teach him a little. You can see how audible he is. I think he might like to do it.

((NATS))

((Zack Zumstein, Auctioneer))

I sold him to Leo. I sold him to Leo. You bought a goat for 45 bucks.


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
The Art of Bonsai
((SOT))
It is really, literally just a tree in a tray, a shallow container. So, it can be done with almost any type of tree – woody tree species.

BREAK TWO
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK C

((PKG)) BONSAI
((Banner: Bonsai))
((Reporters:
Alam Burhanan, Rafki Hidayat))
((Camera:
Alam Burhanan))
((Adapted by:
Zdenko Novacki))
((Map:
Washington, D.C.))
((NATS))

((Michael James, Curator, Arboretum))
Welcome to the Arboretum. My name is Michael James. I’m the curator here. We’re part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
((NATS))
((Michael James, Curator, Arboretum))
Bonsai is an art form that originated in China and then was spread throughout the world by Japan. And it is really, literally just a tree in a tray, a shallow container. So, it can be done with almost any type of tree – woody tree species.
((NATS))
((Michael James, Curator, Arboretum))
This fruit in Bonsai does not reduce in size. Through the training process, we can reduce the size of leaves, which makes the little tree look bigger but we can’t reduce the size of fruits. So, this is the natural size of this fruit.
((NATS))
((Michael James, Curator, Arboretum))
A good Bonsai has a good, flared, radial root system. And that, in Japanese, is called the Nebari. And oftentimes, good Bonsai have a feeling of movement or sway. And this tree is a good example of that.
((NATS))
((Michael James, Curator, Arboretum))
The oldest known-aged tree here at the National Bonsai Museum is Japanese White Pine. Oldest tree, we call it the Yamaki Pine, because it was donated by a Japanese master called Masaru Yamaki and it was in his family for generations before he donated it to the museum in 1976. That tree was in the city of Hiroshima during the bombing and it was protected by the walls of the nursery. So, it was safe and it still lives healthy today.
((NATS))
((Michael James, Curator, Arboretum))
There is a tree that has been named Goshin by Bonsai master John Naka. And he was someone who spread the art form in the 60s and 70s and 80s, even 90s throughout this country and it’s one of his most famous creations. It’s a forest. It’s very iconic of our redwoods.
((NATS))
((Michael James, Curator, Arboretum))
In the wild, they have age limits they get to. But in Bonsai, you’re always pruning and you’re rejuvenating. And they are also taken care of and prevented from disease and insect outbreaks. So, they potentially could live longer in Bonsai care than they would in nature.


((PKG)) FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES
((Banner:
Feeding the Feds))
((Reporters: Gabrielle Weiss, Mykhailo Komadovsky))
((Camera: Gabrielle Weiss, Randall Taylor, Philip Alexiou, Sashko Danylenko))
((Map: Washington, D.C.))

((NATS)) Shutdown.
Oh, oh end, oh the shutdown.
Oh, oh end, yeah, ain’t it right?
Oh the shutdown, the shutdown.

((Banner: During the partial US government shutdown, chef and humanitarian Jose Andres has been offering free meals to government employees))
((NATS)) ((NATE MOOK, Executive Director, World Central Kitchen)) We’re a privately funded, non-profit organization and we have an emergency relief fund from which we operate. So that enables us to respond to disasters, that’s earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires in California. And this right now is a disaster. People are really hurting. At the end of the day, a plate of food is a plate of food, and whether you are impacted by a natural disaster or a man-made disaster, you know, it’s the same to us.
((NATS)) ((DARREN JAFFE, Employee, U.S. Department of Transportation))
I’m a furloughed federal employee and I’m not being paid, and we still have regular bills to pay and everything. I just applied, I applied for unemployment but that hasn’t kicked in yet and we’re living on my wife’s paycheck right now so it’s tight. So, I thought this would be a good way to save some money. Last week, I went to some of Jose Andres’ other restaurants for the free sandwiches. So, I think it’s a great idea what he’s doing to help out the federal employees who are kind of caught in the middle of all this political arguing. ((NATS)) ((FURLOUGHED GOVERNMENT WORKER)) I guess it’s a rude awakening to wake up and know that you don’t have a job to go to and that you’re not getting paid while the government is shut down.
((NATS)) ((OFFICER WILLIAMS, U.S. Park Police)) Just taking advantage of the free food, the free coffee they had to offer. We take care of a lot of the law enforcement duties right here in the city. We ride horses in those areas, National Parks and so, in reference to the furlough itself, you know we just have to be economical as far as our feeding, how much we’re feeding the horses. I’m not sure if they’re going to clear funds for essential things such as horse feed and things like that. But, we’ll have to do something if this goes longer than a month.
((NATS))
So darling, darling, end the shutdown.
Oh, oh end the shutdown….


CLOSING ((ANIM))
voanews.com/connect

BREAK THREE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))



SHOW ENDS

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