Good morning Columbus. What you need to now — reader feedback on opioid stories; schools handle more threats; it’s East vs. North; on the run for 36 years

Greetings Columbus —

Opioids: Addicted and Dying

Nearly a month ago, The Republic and our sister papers in Franklin, Seymour, Nashville and Greenfield launched Addicted & Dying, an ongoing series that takes a deep dive into the opioid epidemic and the many costs it exacts on families and our communities.

Addiction is such a big and multi-faceted issue, and, at times, it has been overwhelming — so many angles and stories to delve into and many are complicated and frankly, heartbreaking.

We have learned so much about the disease, and yet know there is so much more to learn and explore.

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t discover something new about  the crisis that is ruining lives and putting stresses on social service agencies, hospitals, courts, law enforcement, children, families and the economy

After we published our first round of stories, we got good feedback. Here’s a sampling:

  • I commend you for tackling the opioid crisis in a meaningful local way.  It is a national epidemic of historic proportions.  I’m a retired RN, and I have seen nothing like this since the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.  (Before that, it was polio in the 1950s.)  Thank you for devoting  resources to this horrible problem, and putting out there that addiction is an illness, not a lifestyle choice.
  • I can’t tell you how appreciative and impressed I am with The Republic’s “Addicted and Dying/Deadly Crisis” series. The articles do a great job with lead stories making the opioid crisis “real and human,” and with supporting articles that educate us with “the facts” about opioids and the impact on the brain.  Thanks for your efforts and commitment to addressing this terrible crisis in our community.
  • Great articles. People need to be educated and understand how the chemistry of the brain changes and how that makes it so difficult to beat addiction. The public also needs to see how pharmaceutical companies contributed to this epidemic by prescribing opioid painkillers and it has hit all socioeconomic classes of our society. I think so many people think it’s limited to the lower class, immoral or uneducated and that’s just not true.
  • I believe this series is a good subject to cover, even if the stats are difficult to read. This is a horrible epidemic and something needs to be done about it. Hopefully the awareness and understanding you are providing will be a good first step to changes.
  • Amazing work … the reporting was extraordinary. Thank you.

We aren’t journalists to get pats on the back, but the comments are very much appreciated.

There was one more aspect to the responses that we did not expect either — many people came forward wanting to tell their stories and how they and their families fell into the hell of addiction. For some, it ended with a funeral.

I am so glad that they have trusted us enough to share their stories because it means the stigma of addiction just might be starting to lessen, and that is an important component as we tackle the epidemic.

For example, if you get cancer or another disease, neighbors, friends and strangers will send well wishes and bring casseroles.

But suffer from the disease of addiction, and oftentimes there’s silence and shame. That isolation can make the crisis spin even more out of control. Families need to be able to talk about what is happening and be supported.

On Sunday and Monday, we are publishing our second installment of Addicted & Dying, and the stories are powerful.

We are focusing on drugs and the economy, and how some businesses are making changes in hiring practices because of a shortage of workers.

Previous stories:

Here’s what else you need to know —

More threats, gun at area schools.

In Columbus, students reported seeing a rifle in a truck, and a teacher was escorted off school property. Story here. 

In Franklin, an 11-year-old Franklin girl made a hit list at school of about 12 teachers and classmates that she wanted to kill, prompting an investigation after a fellow student told a teacher. Story here.

In Greenwood, two Center Grove elementary students were arrested this week after posting a threat on a website, the school’s police department said. Story here.

Police: Guy on the run for 36 years.
This is a doozy of a story. Find out how this Edinburgh man’s luck ran out. Click here.

East vs. North, and another crosstown clash.
By the look of these tweets, the cheering sections should be in fine form tonight. Link here for all the game details.

 Have a good weekend. Send your story ideas to

Author photo
Scarlett Syse is group editor of The Republic. Contact her at