State government reporter Geoff Mulvihill, medical reporter Carla Johnson, Columbus-based video journalist Patrick Orsagos and Cincinnati-based photographer Carolyn Kaster produced a deep all-formats package about a community that serves as a model for what others could do with proceeds from a $50 billion opioids settlement to fight the opioids epidemic.
Through interviewing experts in search of places where evidence-based approaches are used, Johnson learned about efforts in Hancock County, in northeastern Ohio. The community developed a comprehensive system to get people into recovery and support them through it. Johnson saw the community as an entry point to report on opioids in a different way — showing most people do recover despite the difficulties. Mulvihill and Orsagos traveled to Hancock County and spent days interviewing people in recovery, witnessing drug court, attending community meetings, sitting in a college class on addiction and riding along with peer support workers. They found people willing to share stories to help more people understand that recovery is possible. Kaster made two trips to Findlay, the county seat, to spend time with Jesse Johnson and other subjects and took photos that capture their work, lives and spirits. Johnson and Mulivhill collaborated on the text story, while Mulvihill wrote a localization guide for members. STAT News highlighted the package in their daily email newsletter.