Opioid nightmares in paradise

Photo: Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Published in Hawaii Business Magazine (June 2018). 

This article won first place in The Society of Professional Journalists’ Excellence in Journalism Awards category of long form feature writing (2019). 

A car accident in high school left him with a broken jaw. He was prescribed Percocet, a narcotic that numbed his pain and created a sense of euphoria. Each time he asked for a new prescription, his oral surgeon complied.

“Between going to school, working and everyday life, the pills made me feel better, faster and stronger.”

When Edward’s oral surgeon finally stopped giving him more, he stood outside pain clinics and offered people cash for their bottles. This continued after he moved from the Midwest to Hawaii Island, where he developed a reputation up and down the Kona Coast as the guy who bought so many pills, there was nothing left for anyone else…

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