Hero of the Year special this week – Making a Difference

This week, the CNN Hero of the Year for 2017, Mark Messner, will be sharing his personal journey with the devastating opioid crisis to legislators from around the country. Messner was in the Army Reserves and was deployed three times for two different tours of duty in Afghanistan. On his last deployment, Mark went off with a friend to buy pills off the black market because he could not afford his pain medication. Later, a doctor prescribed him and other soldiers to continue this behavior, but like so many others, the soldiers began to feel the adverse effects of the over-prescription of pills to our veterans and, eventually, they began using the pills themselves. As a result, nine of his closest friends died from overdoses — including his oldest friend.

On a more personal note, this week’s Hero of the Year will introduce readers to Steven Davis, a heroin addict and native of Cincinnati, Ohio. Steven’s story will be intertwined with an honest conversation about the issues we are facing — whether it’s the spike in opioid abuse, the increase in heroin overdoses, or the ongoing Hepatitis C epidemic and related health crises. With such high levels of public awareness, clearly, something is amiss. So, why is it that so many have chosen to prioritize saving their political enemies over saving human lives?

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