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Opioid Crisis and Pursuing your Dreams (VOA Connect Ep 59)


VOA – CONNECT

EPISODE 59
AIR DATE 03 01 2019

TRANSCRIPT

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

((SOT))
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Life in the Arctic

((SOT))
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Dreaming of Mars

((SOT))
((Open Animation))

BLOCK A
((Banner:

The

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)) PHILADELPHIA: THE FINAL CHAPTER

((Banner: Philadelphia – The Final Chapter))
((Producers:
Chris Simkins, Jeff Swicord, Jacquelyn De Phillips))
((Camera:
Jeff Swicord, Chris Simkins, Mike Burke, Marcus Harton))
((Map:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania))

********
((Locator: Frankford Avenue Underpass, Kensington, Pennsylvania))

((NATS))
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Eviction day on Frankford Avenue, to me was actually really surreal. To be able to walk underneath there with no one there. There was no tents. There was no sign of life other than the city and the officials and the people who were there cleaning up.

((Inspector Raymond Convery, Commanding Officer, East Philadelphia Police Division))

Everybody voluntarily left. We didn't have to force anybody out. They all left by themselves. A couple went to shelter. A couple went over to the next encampment. A couple just scattered into the neighborhood, so….
((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
When you’re down here almost every day for so many months, and this is a community, and all of a sudden you come down and there is nothing here, it hits you a little bit, you know, makes you think, “Where, where are they are all going to be tonight?” So, I wish I had the answers. I wish somebody had the answers to that. I’m not quite sure they have the answers to where they’re going to be tonight.

********

((Locator: Emerald Avenue Underpass, Kensington, Pennsylvania))

((NATS))

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Everything that was going through my mind that day of the eviction at Frankford, then heading over to Emerald, just everything that I had experienced. To be able to see Eric at that point in time, my jaw dropped. I was a little confused. I knew right away that it wasn’t a positive reason for that we were seeing him there.

((Eric, Recovering Addict))
They found K2 on my roommate. He was throwing it out. We found it, we were throwing it out, right, because we didn't want to deal with more s****. And they walked in and he just, he handed it to her and they threw us both out. All that work I did, for nothing.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
Eric being kicked out of his rehab, I could say I'm angry, yes. I'm angry when things like that happen. I'm angry at the system. I'm angry, maybe, at the person because of, maybe, what would’ve lead them to that point.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Here’s a pop up cabana style. Here’s one blanket for now. You guys, share with that, and I will get you back out.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
I can't just stop caring or giving to somebody in need because I'm disappointed or I'm frustrated. The last time you looked in their eyes, you saw happiness and you saw joy and you saw a different person than the look in their eyes this time and to see somebody who was scared, who was confused.

********

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
((Eric, Recovering Addict))

((NATS))

Britt: When I found out that Eric had taken ill and ended up in the hospital….

Eric: There he is.

Britt: Hey, how are you?

Eric: I’m good.

Britt: Good.

Britt: I was concerned, because I knew that he was back on the streets. That's not a place for anybody to be ill.

Britt: So, what’s going on?

Eric: Well, I’m in the hospital. I got an infection in my buttocks and close to my spine.

Britt: His health wasn't the best prior to him leaving the streets the first time.

Britt: So, you went back and were using the K2, was what really brought this whole thing, like the whole house of cards down.

Eric: Well, loyalty to my homeboy is what brought the whole house of cards down, really.

Britt: What did you, how did you, what did you get out of that? What did you think about that? Like, that loyalty, that….

Eric: Listen, man. Loyalty to a fault. Look, I’m a Leo….

Britt: Well, so you’re loyal to a fault. And that’s a good thing and I get it….

Eric: I’m actually a Leo, Leo, Scorpio, and Poppy’s my flower.

Britt: That’s a heck of a flower.

Eric: Right?

Britt: Yeah. But, you know, I just, I look at it because, like, I used to be that person, like, I always wanted to be there for everybody and appease everybody and make sure everybody was cohesive, and that’s very common for even myself. It's so easy for me to help all my friends, help anybody who needs it. And then I always tend to, like, neglect myself.

Eric: Right.

Britt: And I kept ending up in the same vicious cycle. It was almost like insanity, you know, repeating. You know, you’re such a good person. You are good hearted, but what's it going to take for you to do for you, so you don't keep going into this vicious cycle?

((Eric, Recovering Addict))
Well, I figured if I really, really want to help people, then I got to get me through this and together, so I can help people.

Britt: You can't help anybody until you help yourself first. That's that old adage that everybody knows and I'm glad to hear you say it. I hope you do it because you deserve it.

Eric: Words are words, actions are actions.

Britt: But, you deserve it though, don’t you?

********

((Locator: Philadelphia Resilience Project))

((NATS))

Resilience Project Member: Clearing encampments and meeting the short-term goals. To date, we’ve cleared the Frankford Avenue encampment and helped individuals residing in the navigation center to create housing plans. We started outreach to clear Emerald Street encampment….

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

It's really interesting to see how the city has changed wheels a little bit from the last evictions. I believe that they've learned. I believe that they stepped up their outreach a little bit. I don't believe that they've done everything to a 100 percent level.

((Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia))

I just want to thank everyone for all your hard work and your patience. This has been, perhaps, one of the most seemingly overwhelming crises that this city has ever faced.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Mayor Kenney seems to really want to get this crisis under control. He's doing the best, I believe, he can at this stage with what he's working with.

((Jim Kenney, Mayor, Philadelphia))

These are all human beings, despite their addiction, despite what they’re sometimes putting a neighbor through. I'm of strong belief that everyone can find a way back, and there's no throwaway people.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

One thing we're still lacking is beds. There aren't enough beds in this city to cover the Frankford Avenue encampment, let alone once, once they get to Emerald.

MC: Thank you, Mayor. We are opening up for any questions that anyone may have in the audience.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

My name’s Britt Carpenter. At the last meeting, it was presented, Councilman Squilla, you had asked about the order being put in for January 15th and you addressed it to Liz Hersh and at that point in time, her response was, “Where are we going to put them? We don't have any beds. If you find us beds, we can do this.” Now you're saying that the order’s in for the end of January. What has changed since then??
((Brian Abernathy, Managing Director))
So, I think we have been able to identify a number of beds, winter beds that have come online. Our teams have been at work diligently to address that very issue. So, it is about looking at current resources, redeploying resources, and I think we are close to identifying that navigation center that we hopefully will have open by the end of January as well.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Thank you.

Neighbor: I’m glad that you’re here, Mayor Kenney. I want to go back to the comprehensive user engagement, safe injection sites.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Mayor Kenney needs to understand that it can't be a quick fix. It's going to take six months and then re-evaluate where we are in this process.

((Jim Kenney, Mayor, Philadelphia))

However, as you know, we’ve lost over 1,200 people last year and the year before, and 900 the year before that. So, it’s been, it’s in the discussion phase, with a group of people who have an interest in saving people’s lives. That’s where we are at right now.

MC: Thank you, Roz.

Neighbor: Alright, thank you.

MC: We have room for one last person. Thank you for waiting so patiently.

Neighbor: And my question is this….

********

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

Being able to return to visit Kelly in her new apartment was really a great feeling, knowing how difficult it's been for her to get off the streets and into housing. I'm thrilled. I’m ecstatic.

((NATS))

Britt: A friend of mine left this for you.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

I've had people reach out to me and ask what she needed and I had somebody bring a wrapped Christmas gift over for her. And, to see her face light up, to see that there was people out there who cared that she didn't even know.

((NATS))
((Kelly, Addicted to Heroin))
Hey, socks!!

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))

….makes it all worthwhile.

((NATS))
Britt: So, how's it been going?

Kelly: It's going. It's an adjustment in a lot of ways. It's very quiet in here.

Britt: Yeah?

Kelly: Which is quite different than the, you know, having to scream at a person that's as close as you are.

Britt: Or traffic passing by, people beeping....

Kelly: Oh my God, the people beeping….

Britt: How are you adjusting to the quiet?

Kelly: I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing a car horn.

Britt: So, you started the methadone clinic end of November, near Thanksgiving?

Kelly: Yeah, exactly.

Britt: How are you feeling?

Kelly: I feel alright. It's a little frustrating, like, I missed, I missed, like, every couple of days, I miss a day which screws with them bringing your dose up.

Britt: Are you still using while on methadone?

Kelly: Yes.

Britt: You are. What's the reasoning behind that for you?

Kelly: Just to feel normal.

Britt: Okay.

Kelly: It's not, I’m not going out to get high. It's, I'll sit there and wait until I'm not feeling good. Before, I don't just go get it to have it on hand, just in case.

Britt: What do you think it's going to take for you to not have to go and use? Or go to pick something up and just continue with the methadone and work on your wellness that way?

Kelly: More stable dose.

Britt: What's the best thing about living on your own?

Kelly: None of the a**holes that I lived under that bridge with….

Britt: Can I tell you….?

Kelly: I don't hear my name every 30 seconds.

Britt: But, can I tell you something? That was one of the things that was keeping you there for awhile.

Kelly: Yeah, I know. I, like, you know, couldn't stop mothering them all.

Britt: What do you want for Kelly in six months? Big difference. What do you want for yourself, your long term? What do you want to work on?

Kelly: It's more like, coping skills, because I just always got high. If I was happy, I got high. If I was sad, I got high. If I was mad, I got high.

Britt: You were masking.

Kelly: That was how I dealt with everything. When, when emotions, you know, small things, like, whatever, I can handle that. But when it was something that was an intense emotion, it was a reason to get high.

Britt: Well, guess what. I'm really glad you are where you are, because you deserve it. You've taken care of so many other people that it's time to take care of yourself, and I'm loving this.

Kelly: Me too.

Britt: I love you. You’re just amazing. You know that? Look at you smile.

Kelly: My toothless smile.

Britt: C’mon, give me a hug. You make me laugh.

Britt: Stay with it.

Kelly: I will. I will.

((Britt Carpenter, Philly Unknown Project))
The mess that has been created here over the years is going to take a lot more time to clean up. We need more people who have a voice in our community and in our society and more people to speak up and more people to spread awareness. We need to focus on working to save lives and that's going to take time. I believe that our work is just getting started.
********
((Banner
THE
Living with America’s Opioid Nightmare will conclude on VOA Connect in the weeks to come))

TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
Dreaming of Space
((SOT))

BREAK ONE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK B

((PKG)) ALASKA OBSERVATORY
((Banner: Life in the Far North))
((Reporter:
Natasha Mozgovaya))
((Camera: Aleksander Bergan))
((Adapted by:
Zdenko Novacki))
((Map:
Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska))
((Bryan Thomas, Chief, Barrow Observatory Station))
We are in the United States Arctic. When it’s all dark, it can be kind of isolating. What I do in those periods, when it’s all dark, is I try to make extra effort to call people and talk to people. Like to play music. So, for me, it’s easier for the darkness than it is for when it’s always light and you have no idea what time it is.
((Bryan Thomas, Chief, Barrow Observatory Station))
Oh, I mentioned about two seasons: the season of mud, and the season of snow. Yeah, so we just ended the season of snow. We had a fairly late melt here. We’ve been measuring the melt on our albedo rack and what we’re doing is we’re subtracting what comes back from what comes in, and when we get to 30%, that’s when we consider snow melt.
((Bryan Thomas, Chief, Barrow Observatory Station))
When the decision was made that the United States needed to know what was happening in the Arctic, they looked at where that could be done, and the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory was right down the road already.
We’re monitoring the atmosphere. The Congress asked us with the Clean Air Act to monitor the atmosphere. Specifically, they wanted us to monitor for pollutants, greenhouse gases.
((Bryan Thomas, Chief, Barrow Observatory Station))
Here we’re monitoring for ozone depleting gases. These are compounds that were prohibited by the Montreal Protocol which was signed in the early 90s and all the parties to the Montreal Protocol have agreed not to use these substances anymore.
((Bryan Thomas, Chief, Barrow Observatory Station))
My job here is to take the measurements like we've been doing for 40 years. The measurements show that the carbon dioxide, for example, is increasing in the atmosphere. We know the physics of that. We know what that means for the atmosphere and what we do about it and who does what about it and when is a policy decision and a politics decision that I don't have a direct influence on.
((Bryan Thomas, Chief, Barrow Observatory Station))
One day, when we were coming out, we always look out before we come, and there was a white mound underneath the platform of the satellite antenna. The wildlife agent came and he pulled up on his ATV and his four-wheeler and he said, "I watched the bear come over here." And the bear was coming from the lagoon. It was coming from the ocean and had probably been on land for a few hours and it wanted a place to rest.


((PKG)) GIRL ASTRONAUT
((Banner:
Life in Outer Space))
((Reporter:
Elena Wolf))
((Camera:
Artyom Kokhan))
((Adapted by:
Martin Secrest))
((Map:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana))
((Banner:
17 year-old Alyssa Carson wants to go to Mars))
((NATS))
((Alyssa Carson, Aspiring Astronaut))

Well, I first got interested in wanting to become an astronaut from watching a cartoon called the Backyardigans when I was around three years old. And basically on the show, the characters went on these imaginary missions to Mars. I wanted to be like one of their friends and go with them, and I started asking my dad all these questions, and basically just kept asking for videos, pictures and books and anything I could find about space and Mars.
((NATS))
((Bert Carson, Alyssa’s Father))

I’m just of that nature that I believe that parents should support their children in whatever their dreams are. It doesn’t matter if it changes a thousand times. It doesn’t matter how crazy it is, because it doesn’t get any crazier than what my kid is dreaming. And you know, there’s a great potential that she’s probably going to leave this planet. Because you have to look at this. You say, is she too young to be doing some of this stuff? You know, every kid out there, if they’re wanting to do whatever career it is, you know, there’s people out there’s been getting pilot licenses and doing flying lessons. I mean, there’s eight and nine year-olds doing this. So, I mean, to be 17 and getting a pilot’s license I don’t think is that young at all. As far as her going off into space, like I said, space is a very dangerous thing. All it wants to do is kill you. So, you know, I worry about that, but on the other side of that, she has educated me to show how important it is for us to leave this planet for the survival of the human species, and so it’s bigger than the two of us, and so I just have to let her go and I have to let her live her dream.
((NATS))
((Alyssa Carson, Aspiring Astronaut))

Not really. We don’t have like a ‘space school.’ The weird thing, you know, about being an astronaut and things like that, is you kind of have to have a job to be an astronaut as a job.
((NATS))
((Alyssa Carson, Aspiring Astronaut))

You know, as you’ve seen, I enjoy going out and speaking to girls and inspiring them to follow their own goals, and also, you know, advocating for, you know, the mission to Mars in general. It is reasonable for us to go, just because we have the technologies to get there. We have all the components, and in 15 years, it’s 2033, which is the projected year for a mission to Mars. I hope to be a part of that mission and going off to Mars and working in the field of astrobiology and hopefully finding something interesting on Mars.


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
A Life in Theater
((SOT))

BREAK TWO
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK C

((PKG)) RUSSIAN STAGE DESIGNER
((Banner: A Life on Stage))
((Reporter:
Elena Wolf))

((Camera: Max Avloshenko, Olga Terekhin))
((Map:
New York, New York City))

((NATS))

((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designer, Director))
When I came here this last time, went into the subway with a suitcase, sat down and put my feet up on the bag, I found myself thinking I would have never been able to do that in Moscow. I wouldn’t even have thought of it, putting my feet up on a suitcase and feeling comfortable doing it. You have this freeing feeling here. It doesn’t mean rudeness or impoliteness. Here, people apologize to each other in the streets if they walk into someone by accident. Everyone is excessively polite and nice, yet free.

((NATS))

((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designer, Director))
With effort, you can create a theater from nothing using your own savings.
((NATS))
((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designer, Director))

American actors are very different from Russian actors. They are curious. So, many things I offer surprise them. I know that New York doesn’t really have such visual theater, and when it does, there’s little. Broadway shows dominate in New York. Also there are theater readings. It can be really good. I have seen a couple of performances.

((NATS))
((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designer, Director))

There’s nothing on the stage, just a chair, a glass of water and the actor that either sits or stands and talks. It’s innovative theater and people are used to this here. But when visuals change every 2-3 minutes….

((NATS))
((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designer, Director))

Here we had one thing, then we have a music break, followed by choreography, and then a projection and something else. It is seen with interest and bewilderment. People are not used to that here.

((NATS))
((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designed, Director))

The show is called Chatter. Long, insignificant talk. A young woman comes to New York to find herself, to understand what she dreams about, but life happens as it always does, a little differently. A little bit differently than planned. Or not a little bit.

((NATS))
((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designer, Director))

This theater, the Tank Theater. Our show was invited after it was staged in Dixon Place Theater. One night, we staged it and then got invited here for a whole week. The theater is known for giving a chance to young teams that are experimenting with what they do. It allows them to try something new.

((NATS))
((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designed, Director))

It’s my first show as a director, my first show in the U.S. It’s scary and at the same time, I get this feeling that anything is possible. Some crazy freedom. And you get scared because such freedom means responsibility.

((NATS))
((Sasha Dashevskaya, Stage Designer, Director))

I feel great here. I am given a chance to experiment. No one forces me to be embarrassed about it, feel uncomfortable knowing I waste people’s time on something that not everyone is going to accept.
((NATS))



COMING UP NEXT WEEK ((VO/NAT))
((SOT))


CLOSING ((ANIM))
voanews.com/connect

BREAK
BUMP IN ((ANIM))



SHOW ENDS

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