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'It's like you're grieving a death that hasn't happened yet': Harsh realities of the opioid crisis

The opioid crisis in Kentucky and Indiana through the eyes of addicts, their loved ones and the people hoping to help.

Shay McAlister, Heather Fountaine, John Charlton, Chris Williams, Brooke Hasch, Andrea Ash, Lisa Hutson, Lena Duncan, Taylor Weiter

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The stories shared both online and on-air may be difficult for some to watch and read.

Opioid addiction affects every single person. For some, every day is spent trying to find a clean needle or quick buck to satisfy an addiction. For others, every waking minute is spent trying to help loved ones overcome their addiction. And for those who have not personally dealt with addiction, every state effort to fight the ongoing crisis takes from taxpayers’ money.

While those struggling with addiction are often judged or looked down upon, they were the first to admit that their lives and the lives of their loved ones are not lives any person would openly choose. Instead, many said their current situations are a result of one decision – often made from desire or need.

One decision that changed millions of lives, that turned a businessman to the street or a mother to support groups. One decision that turned into a lifetime of struggle.