ESPN’s John Barr and Mike Farrell tell a difficult tale this morning, relating the difficulties that Ken Daniels’ son, Jamie, had with the prescription painkillers that took his life.
This is part of an “E:60” documentary that will air this evening at 11 PM EDT:
Jamie died of an overdose of heroin that had been laced with fentanyl, a synthetic and far more potent form of the drug, according to an autopsy report and death certificate. For Ken, understanding how Jamie could overdose in a sober home environment meant exploring the dark path Jamie had traveled in the final weeks before his death, a journey that opened Ken’s eyes to something he had never before considered: the existence of a corrupt side to the billion-dollar rehabilitation industry in South Florida, where federal laws can be exploited by people who actually have no interest in keeping recovering addicts clean. Jamie, his father came to realize, got caught in an insurance scam known as “The Florida Shuffle.”
“It’s one thing to have an addiction and not being able to overcome it because the addiction overtakes you … but then when bad people get involved and they contribute to it, it makes you sick,” Ken says.
The story continues, and this is the kind of topic that we need to discuss because it’s not easy to talk about the most widespread addiction problem in the U.S. and Canada. We are countries struggling with everyday people addicted to prescription drugs, and it sucks, but the this stuff happens to everyday people like you and me, and the more we de-stigmatize addiction as an illness and a disease, not a sign of personal weakness, the better we can help people treat their illnesses.