Understanding America's Opioid Epidemic: Generation Listen Digs In With Kelly McEvers

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Tough headlines can be hard to stomach – and even harder to digest when the stories behind the headlines are nuanced, complex and sometimes difficult to understand.

Such is the case with the opioid epidemic, which has spread through America's homes and consciousness with a devastating impact. It's affected Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life – from members of marginalized communities to legendary international icon, Prince. So how did we get here and where can we go from here?

There are no easy answers. Which is right up Generation Listen's alley. Generation Listen regularly brings together public radio listeners in intimate settings for thoughtful conversations about issues and ideas that matter. Our hope is that together, invested citizens can unpack complicated new stories, cultivate empathy for the lives behind the stories, and start to envision a path forward.

How will we tackle the opioid conversation? With NPR's Kelly McEvers.

McEvers, the co-host of All Things Considered and Embedded, has produced powerful reporting about the opioid epidemic, all while lending an empathetic ear to people affected by this crisis.

So Generation Listen and Kelly McEvers are teaming up to dig into America's opioid crisis and explore how we think about addiction. Generation Listen will host two intimate gatherings to listen to McEvers's powerful reporting from the frontlines of the epidemic. The first will take place in Atlanta on September 1. Then we'll head to Chicago on September 19. After the listening session, McEvers will kick off a conversation with special guest Maia Szalavitz tackling questions like: How do people become addicted and why? Who is most at risk? What are the most successful ways to treat addiction? The audience will have a chance to share personal reflections, stories, questions and ideas to better understand addiction, its consequences, and the road to recovery.

For those across the nation unable to attend, Generation Listen will create a custom Listening Party Kit that empowers listeners to bring together friends, family or colleagues and deepen the conversation in their own living rooms. Look out for the kit in late September and check out past kits here.

Generation Listen: America's Opioid Epidemic is made possible by Cigna, and by a collaboration between NPR and NPR Member stations WABE and GPB, in Atlanta, and WBEZ in Chicago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.