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The Opioid Effect: Maine's Fishing Community Battles with Heroin

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In 2016, the state of Maine averaged one drug overdose death a day, with the vast majority of those deaths by heroin. TONIC goes behind the numbers to the fishing town of Machias to meet people whose lives have been affected by the opiate epidemic. MORE ON TONIC: https://tonic.vice.com Check out TONIC'S full video catalog: https://video.vice.com/en_us/channel/tonic More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideo Like TONIC on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2fJQsIE Follow TONIC on Twitter: http://bit.ly/2gBfCGZ Follow TONIC on Instagram: http://bit.ly/2gcbJLO Sign up for the TONIC Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2gBfOGg
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Text Comments (685)
TheMako990 Mako (2 days ago)
Can’t drink beer with addict. I love ofauls
Steve Gallant (5 days ago)
Once again the common folk Take It Up The Poop Shoot from the government. Our government is just as guilty as the pharmaceutical companies. If not more. The United States government's greed is what caused this problem. The pharmaceutical companies paid our government tens of millions of dollars to look the other way and that's what they did so you get what we have now.
C _ (15 days ago)
Playamack Real o.g (19 days ago)
I have friends who are addicted to pills and when talking to them about od they always say i no what im doing it hurts me to see them killing themselves
John Keith (30 days ago)
What makes my blood BOIL is drug dealers are NOT getting enough jail time for dealing this poison. My heart goes out to all families dealing with this epidemic.
MrBrannew20 (1 month ago)
Lmao look at the so called superior race. Dying from a pill and a chemical. Pull yourselves up by your boot straps you interior monkeys. Listen give it up. Y'all will be extinct by 2050
Sam LaMantia (1 month ago)
Seeing the dad tear up, break's my heart.
Brent Weaver (1 month ago)
Just in. Humans grow more retarded by the day. We have the safest bubble to live in with all the opportunity to grow. We need direction we need struggle that’s real not a drug
Colin Flynn (1 month ago)
All these people bringing race into it need to wake up and realize that the media is spreading us apart. Don't buy into it. We are all humans.
robert bradford (1 month ago)
Black problem it's criminal, white problem I understand.
Luke J. / Nexus (1 month ago)
Heres an idea.... dont do drugs.
XemPvP (1 month ago)
I want to feel bad for these people but unless you suffer from severe pain on a daily basis, you have no reason to be abusing opiods. Smoke weed, have a few drinks with your friends, but when you choose to use hard drugs you're dancing with the devil.
Republican TBISH2016 (2 months ago)
As an ex -heroin-addict this country is going about the situation wrong in many ways. I have been clean for over three years and will be graduating at the top of my class soon with a degree in psychology. First off, I would say 75 to 85 percent of these addicts are convicted felons. Many of them got caught with drugs or made horrible decisions when they were under the influence of drugs. After the commit a crime, do their time, get off probation, most of them can never find a job or get the license they need for a job. So most of them figure their life is over and go back to using because they see no purpose in their life. With this in mind, when people relapse they either commit a more serious crime, but more than often they die. Even with the courts leaning more towards rehab more than jail, it still does no good if these individuals can integrate back into society just like everyone else after they change their lives.
texasun12 (2 months ago)
See world America creates false propaganda against African Americans. White Americans are the true dope heads and drug addicts. They are dying by the thousands every day. But they want expose themselves in a negative light.
MrBrannew20 (1 month ago)
I totally agree
Jugger naut (2 months ago)
why did he die? because someone was selling sh.....! why? because its illegal !! his father should be mad at the system, at the war on drugs
jon ele024666 (2 months ago)
Why all our ems people so unhealthy an fat I thought it may have been a fluke but I’ve been to five different states on the east coast and most of you ems are disgustingly overweight
jon ele024666 (2 months ago)
Fuk narcan let them just overdose an die
jon ele024666 (2 months ago)
Alcoholic drug addicted fishermen so educational
Joe Barry (2 months ago)
I'm getting tired of these" oh white people dying now it's a problem" .Uhh k. Crack never killed half as people half as fast and swept the nation. Yeah and maybe a little its because politicians and professional people's kids are on it and dying now that it gets some attention.too.. don't act like something doesn't affect you more when it is closer to home. In staggering numbers
BandSource (1 month ago)
Joe Barry so are you suggesting we don’t learn from mistakes and just keep hush hush ?
Itsme 23 (2 months ago)
Oxy should have NEVER come out of hospitals. THATS what got the opioid ball rolling.....
Swol Team 6 (2 months ago)
It's hard to feel sorry, because by 2018, it's been decades of this shit murdering ppl. At a certain point you gotta learn 2+2
Koua Vang (2 months ago)
Just kill them all, kill their friends, family, dealers, everything burn a cheap bullet to the head will save tax dollars
Mighty Clickbait (2 months ago)
Everyone is addicted to something that gets them high physically or spiritually. How does someone doing drugs affect you personally??
Xeno Phon (2 months ago)
Its almost like subconsciously americans realize that they are the scum of the planet that has been terrorizing the rest of the world since its inception. I would need to do 60% of the worlds drugs with only 7% of the worlds population as well if i was a terrorist.
kyle boudreau (2 months ago)
This story is one it has been told to much ....that's most sad part about it
mark reiter (2 months ago)
Pretty chicks choose a heroine addict with a nice face over an ugly dude with a future
qwerty 13420 (2 months ago)
We dont care about drug users - Let them die - Too many people on this planet already You wanna get high? Smoke some weed & enjoy your life IF you choose anything else then ITS ON YOU
Press Woodard (2 months ago)
I can't blame anybody who uses oxys or heroin its a little bit of peace or heaven while you're living in this hell, isn't that what we are all looking for peace and joy. But on the downside when you come off that high you enter back into this hell and its amplified. Trust me find another route to temporary peace and joy
Animated Tigress (2 months ago)
So everyone knows about the drug use and decided not to say anything including the captains? What a fucking gross community
Steve P (2 months ago)
Worst part the heroin epidemic probably started with one or two folks bringing it in from outside.
donald peters (2 months ago)
hat's off to that father. It's important, as family and loved ones are most always enablers in the beginning.
Josh Zickefoose (2 months ago)
Kmell Kmell (2 months ago)
😂 it’s always a problem when the chickens come home to roost. 😎
jade xade (1 month ago)
Kmell Kmell so now that chicken is dying
nymike06 (2 months ago)
My condolences to the families
surferdude (2 months ago)
Just putting this out here... i live out east on long island in a fishing town also a very touristy area and herion isn’t the only problem. Out here where I live fishermen are being known to use cocaine or even meth to stay awake for long hours. Our eco system is being deprived not because of over fishing but because of all these chemicals/pesticides and shitty wind farms that kill everything. Now, fishermen have to stay out and try even harder to meet a quota and support their families and the only way they can maintain alertness is through drugs, caffeine can only last so long.
Thomas Gladders (2 months ago)
Kratom saves lives. 🍃☮️🙏🏽
Self Awareness (2 months ago)
Thomas Gladders I usually switch back and forth between Norco, kratom, and China white. Still ballin out rn hahahhaha
Scott Gibson (2 months ago)
My mother has been addicted to prescription drugs as long as I can remember, she is 90. She has OD many times. Drugs have not only destroyed her life but greatly damaged my entire family.
Sean HS (2 months ago)
Michael Anthony: "My guts hurt ma! I can't fish today"
PartyPartyPartyNow (2 months ago)
It's always dealers, never junkies /s
Crystal Taylor (3 months ago)
Y’all traveled way up to the woods in Maine for this one
Julian Edwards (3 months ago)
that poor man who was the dad of a dead addict. could see tears welling. Think that picture could do a lot to help users stop.
Crusty Cobs (3 months ago)
Look up 'the Sackler Family, and Purdue Pharma, makers of Oxy, and how they got sales people to tell Doctors that these Opioids were non-addictive, paid them money, paid off Politicians all the way to the top, created millions of junkies and thousands of deaths.
veg An archist (3 months ago)
Hard to have sympathy for these killers, but I sympathy for everyone
Eliseo Bastidas (3 months ago)
No sympathy.
Daniella Hernandez (3 months ago)
Serpent Lordz (3 months ago)
Piped Up
Jessica Carlson (3 months ago)
“Im not gonna judge someone by their past” ... well it’s was his present and he died. How’s that work out for ya?
ღ J-me ღ (3 months ago)
A true heroin addict doesn't think "it won't happen to me". Instead they're asking "where did they get the shit the person Od'ed on?"
Sonyag1 (3 months ago)
Just because the license plate is from New York, doesn't mean they are there for trouble. New Yorkers actually have family and friends all over the country.
USA Rocks! (3 months ago)
Darrell D Greer 1964-1999. That was my brother. Your damn right it effects everyone. This drug robbed my brother and us of everything. He was our everything. Please keep educating.
Paul Delasco CPS (3 months ago)
Im no medic but that Rig is filthy! Outside and In. EMT must be using dope!!
Steven (4 months ago)
Send them to rehab is signing their death warrant. I know people like to think that's what's best. But how many deaths until people accept that it's not the best way. If they like that stuff, put them on methadone. I works. It also jacks up the tolerance so that Heroin won't work. I'm speaking from experience. I've been an addict for 30 years. I'm still alive.
Matt Rice (2 months ago)
Steven I'm from Maine. The problem is. We're so rural the methadone clinics are hrs away for most. You have to go daily for a long time. Docs can't prescribe it. They're pushing soboxan up here. $400 a month and everyone is shooting it. I agree with you. Methadone is cheap and not easy to shoot. But there's no profit in letting docs prescribe methadone...
William Smith (4 months ago)
Amanda Vasi (4 months ago)
I had a terrible addiction to heroin. Ten years, multiple overdoses, and near death i decided to stop. I have a wonderful husband, and am going for bachelors in psychology. We are not all scumbags. I didnt dream this happen to me as a child. It started becasue of an emergency surgery. I am a mother, wife, daughter. We are all valuable. If youete now you would never know i am am addict. Please stop judging. You have no idea why people end up caught in the grip. I used to judge and put down addicts and i become one and let me tell you the hell and shame you carry, and feeling like theres no way out. Please stop and there are plenty of black people hooked on heroin.
Sal'tripin (5 months ago)
​I did heroine for 15 years and never did anything wrong. never lied to my family, ripped anyone off, never stole anything. drugs are inanimate. its the person that's the issue
Machu Mamu (5 months ago)
Hi I’m smart to and have an opinion on this matter...
duanchamp1988 (6 months ago)
No sympathy for addicts that makes babies go through this shit. Take responsibility and get snipped and tubes tied
Bella Tynski (6 months ago)
The Maine accents are so thick
rick sanchez (7 months ago)
You might be thinking about something else but somewhere up there your thinking about using
t millz (8 months ago)
RIP to all our loved ones who fell victim to this tragic drug
alterdestiny (8 months ago)
Folks wanna get high... NOTHING you can do to help or stop it..A GODLESS WORLD... gonna get worse.
Kelly marie (8 months ago)
Rip sam.... so sad he never got to meet his son..made me cry..
flysubcompact (9 months ago)
Hell, give them all the opiates they can carry. Those will all OD, then the epidemic will vanish. You've got to be an idiot to put that shit in your body. Let Darwin do what he does best.
Sosa 90 (9 months ago)
Heroin is not just a white problem, every race across the bored is using heroin! But only whites make the news. That's why it's an epidemic. I used and am native, I know just as many black users as White. But I did notice threw the years of using blacks normally snort it and do that for years. White start by snorting then after time go to shooting it up, asians that I knew that did it normally smomed it... So every race does heroin but they do use it different ways from what I've witnessed over 4 years of using. Everyone of them started on lain pills though.
Sosa 90 (9 months ago)
I fkn hate when dumbasses say legalization of weed will help the heroin problem. I did heroin weed is the last fkn thing in the world that I wanted while withdrawing from heroin.
Ezra Poore (9 months ago)
Wtf...Im from there...
Chuckerz (9 months ago)
im a user and if i could tell EVERY heroin user one tip that i tell ALL my friends is ALWAYS SAMPLE YOUR DRUGS FIRST I'm 100% sure that these overdoses are from a new batch that they arent use to,or new additives or just more potent heroin,i say " i don't care how sick you are,or how long you've dealt with your dealer,if hes not a user hows he going to know what he gave you,SAMPLE WHAT THEY GIVE YOU, MEANING A TINY DOSE
HacksignKT (9 months ago)
I'm glad they are dying tbh.
Carnivore Bear (3 months ago)
HacksignKT well arent you a great human being
gary cobiak (10 months ago)
it's Maine what else is there to do. Jk it's beautiful up there
Emcee SupremeJustice (11 months ago)
it doesn’t surprise me he overdosed a couple days after getting out of rehab any person working in one will tell you that it’s the most common time to have it happen when you’re using and you gradually become addicted your tolerance goes up and it takes more and more to get the same high and when you go to rehab and detox your tolerance goes back down most addicts don’t realize this so when they get out they shoot the same amount they were shooting before they went in thinking their tolerance will be the same and they die my heart goes out to them and anyone suffering from this disease I never did heroin but I used to be heavily addicted to pills and I got clean 2 years ago it helps to find something positive to get addicted to for me it was mixed martial arts but everyone’s different blessings
Angela G (11 months ago)
That comment of "she knew" just pisses me off!!!! If she knew, and loved him, then get him some da*n help!! You do whatever it takes, even if it's tough love to save their lives. My aunt lost her son and I lost my cousin because we thought we were doing the right thing by letting him try to kick pills on his own. Then I got the call first, he was in Florida in a hotel room dead of an accidental OD. I wish everyday I'd called the cops on him, I didn't know he was going to Florida, but calling the cops would have maybe made him think twice
Carnivore Bear (3 months ago)
Angela G Sorry for your loss. Calling the cops could also have made him resent you, and jail is hardly a place conducive to getting people off of drugs. Don't beat yourself up over not doing that, you don't know if it could've changed things. The enforcement of drug laws against users just amplifies the issues associated with their use: makes people far, far less likely to seek treatment for fear of legal repercussions, makes drug dosing/identification far more difficult due to pill counterfeiting (illegality drives up cost which makes counterfeiting a much better value proposition for dealers) leading to more ODs, ties up state and federal funding treating what is a health issue as a criminal issue, makes users poorer so they have less money for treatment, the problems just go on and on and on.
tom bob (11 months ago)
if u get paid 2 fish next time u r at work rember how manny of us hate going 2 work every day n fishing is the only thing that keeps us sain enought to keep working shitty jobs
POStOLFRONT (1 year ago)
Nobody would have to battle heroin, if they would stop putting it in their bodies!!
Rian Young (1 year ago)
Heroin wouldn’t be my Maine concern going out on some dodgy boat not knowing how to swim. Ba dum tssss...
Andres Mr (1 year ago)
I just wanted to say.. what a nice accent the ambulance lady has. truly new england accent
Doctor Gonzo (1 year ago)
Mark Mancini (1 year ago)
this was really done very well. I love the focus on hope at the end
Swedish Barbie (1 year ago)
her attitude when she said it costs 30 bucks a pop to potentionally save someones life is the attitude of someone who should not even be working with healthcare. fuck you bitch, you have no idea why someone ended up overdosing and all you see is the cost? i hope someone close to you need naloxone one day and you get a lifechanger.
Pen & Paper (1 year ago)
This place seems like a shit hole. Those people that the fishing guy said he would buy heroin from in the morning before work, instead of giving them money you should be giving them bullets.....in their head and chest. That's a start to reducing or stopping the problem. The SUV's the lady mentioned coming up from New York and Connecticut bringing in the heroin, instead of just watching them bring in the poison you should put them to sleep permanently. This will reduce or stop the poison from coming into your community and ruining the people and families in your community. You just sit there like little prey wondering what is going on and why is this happening and the predators will continuing laughing at you while they take your money and destroy your lives, families, and communities.
Heather (1 year ago)
where is your boss I need a job like that Jesus Christ that guy's the man hundred bucks see you in an hour, fucking rock and roll! look at all the good the drug wars done Jesus what another 100 years and man, will have even more drugs that are made in clandestine labs! you cannot legislate human behavior but it's a lot better than no what's out there how's that saying go the devil you know yeah, yeah that's that's probably the better way to go. but we can keep having cops kick indoors steal some money and then everybody can cry when somebody overdoses and then we just move on like the broken divided fucked-up country we are sometimes answers aren't easy and sometimes people's decisions good bad indifferent are simply none of your fucking business
Heather (1 year ago)
best thing that ever happened to Maine
Nigel Watson (1 year ago)
Just don't do drugs, it's that simple.
David dorkus (1 year ago)
Not gonna stop my move to machias
David dorkus (1 year ago)
Probably doesn't help I live by a city that recently had 52 overdoses in a 32 hr period
James Huntley (1 year ago)
This town of Machias has had this problem since long before 2000, and there isn't a single doctor provider or treatment facility that actually prescribes Suboxone or Methadone treatment in the town of Machias. Some of these doctors never had a problem prescribing Oxy, Morphine, whatever else narcotics back be before it was an "epidemic". The town this video is about! Some seeking this sort of treatment have to travel 30++++++++ miles daily for their medicine and are chastised for it. Marijuana becomes legal 2017 and there 3 or 4 dispensary's in a 5 mile radius....but no opiate treatment? smh The truth is "THEY" don't care. They would rather lace heroin with fentanyl or whatever they have to do to kill the addicts instead of offering an alternative besides "faith based"...RIP Sam
Bella Tynski (6 months ago)
I currently live in machias and I agree with you 100%. I don't understand why they don't have an opiate treatment center, especially when half of the town is hooked on them. The faith based centers are bullshit in my opinion. Praying to God isn't going to stop your body from going through painful withdrawal. Machias deserves help.
James Huntley (1 year ago)
Btw I am for whatever treatment works, EVERYONE is not the same, and have their own paths to recovery "life".
Foolin N'Spoolin (1 year ago)
as someone who lives in mid-coast maine, and has worked on a lobster boat, if you showed up dope sick, you'd never be allowed back on that boat. Let alone brought to shore to score and to return to work, i've gotten shit from my captian for being stoned on the boat before
JCI1990 (1 year ago)
that heroin and shit probably comes from the taliban or something and they probably spike every other 5 batches to kill people to wage war on america or other western countries.
C. Lincoln (1 year ago)
Lazy whites, don't want to work, just want to shoot their heroin and have heroin babies. LOL fuck these albinos. Lazy scum. Lock 'em up. Send them back to the caves of Euro-Asia.
GTOAviator (1 year ago)
This, VICE. This is the shit we want to see more of.
Chris Kliewer (1 year ago)
Wow...all I see are comments of people bitching about race, and other unrelated bullshit. Of course Ir's mainly white people abusing the shit, this is MAINE! Fucking retards...I myself got on suboxone maintenance, and if taken right, it really does sauce lives. But one thing I have noticed, is that there are alto of black people migrating up here, which doesn't bother me..so Maine, in effect, is becoming more racially diverse, so shut ur fucking pie holes.
Edward Peguero (1 year ago)
Close to home I live in Massachusetts and news stations talk about the opiode nearby
VNEINC (1 year ago)
If these junkies get narcan. They need to get vivitrol, also. They cannot get high right away. We have to stop the madness of giving narcan and then the addicts chase the heroin that causes the overdose. This sick cycle just keeps the customer base going. We need to put money into vivitrol treatment and job skills.
Mr Josh (1 year ago)
American's and their drugs lmao
Steffano Fumo (1 year ago)
I have a severe neurodegenerative medical condition and I'm basically dying slowly and painfully, now I have to suffer because of these people who abuse opioids and the stupid response from the government, what about the people who truly need the medication??? Tobacco alcohol and heart disease kill way more people, but here I am with limited access to needed medication even with a legitimate prescription.
Colleen Wasner (3 days ago)
I am so sorry to hear this, it is happening to many friends, who really have terrible problems. Being in pain is insane, what a cruel nation!
+Steve Gallant My friend is filing a federal lawsuit about that right now. He is posting the lawsuit at www.FederalLawsuit.us. we figure, the more lives saved, the better. And even if the lawsuit only saves just one person's life then it's worth it. :)
Steve Gallant (5 days ago)
I agree. The government goes from one extreme to another. Now Suboxone is being over-prescribed everywhere. I know that Suboxone has helped many many many people but in time we're going to find it's not the miracle drug that we all thought and hoped it was. Go on Facebook there is a site damn I forget the name of it but it's basically a group of people that all have chronic pain everyday and have had their pain medications taken from them because of this BS epidemic. I guess the group is trying to get some legislation passed to change things
+Morgan Dawn Anyone 18 or over can file a federal lawsuit to try to change it.
Morgan Dawn (2 months ago)
Same here.. what the government is doing is destroying those truly in need
Danny Hepple (1 year ago)
America is a shit hole isn't it haha
kichansilva (1 year ago)
legalize weed in Maine. it's proven to lower drug addictions to heroin, meth, prescriptions, etc. 👍
Crystal Clear (1 year ago)
I felt nothing. What is happening to the white race couldn't be to a more deserving group of demons. Happy Heroin plaque!!!!!
Steven (4 months ago)
Crystal Clear that's how I feel every single day when I watch the new to see how many blacks killed each other today.
alterdestiny (8 months ago)
Crystal Clear who defeated you?.. you sound like you are living in a prison... wake up and see the holy spirit.. you show weakness in your words.
Crystal Clear (1 year ago)
Dear white people your fucked!!!!! 😂😂😂😂
Elijah Littlefield (1 year ago)
hits close to home. drugs have definitely affected communities up here in Maine, and I'm glad someone is speaking up about it.
kinotekaHD (1 year ago)
Great content, masterfully done...keep it up!
David Davidson (1 year ago)
I live in Washington County in Wisconsin... and heroin n pills are the same here...

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