How a small mountain community copes with drug addiction

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The legalization of marijuana in several U.S. states has had a huge impact in the ongoing legal debate about whether or not to decriminalize other recreational drugs. In states like California and Oregon, there’s already a push to legalize substances like MDMA and psilocybin. But in states like West Virginia, which has one of the highest overdose rates in the country, a different picture emerges. There, the state legislature has imposed strict new rules that regulate and reduce the availability of harm reduction provisions, such as hygiene supplies, new syringes, and Narcan. 

In the “Do Less Harm” episode of the new season of KCRW’s Bodies podcast, a producer travels to a small mountain town in West Virginia and describes her day with Lil, a community activist who runs an unofficial harm reduction program by handing out some of these much needed supplies.  

Bodies host and creator Allison Behringer.  Photo by Edward Bricker.

Jonathan Bastian talks with the host and creator of Bodies, Allison Behringer, and producer Hannah Harris Green, about episode 2 of Bodies and Green’s experience in West Virginia and her day shadowing Lil. The episode raises a fundamental question: Are there better ways to support people who use drugs that will simultaneously save lives and promote healthier communities? 

Bodies producer Hannah Harris Green.  Photo courtesy of Hannah Harris Green.




Andrea Brody