‘We don’t know why it came to this’

Anna Marrie Jones, 54, succumbed to an American health crisis plaguing white women. The trend is worse for women in the Southwest, worse still in rural areas, and worst of all for those in the lower middle class.

The lonely road of staying clean

Jessica Kilpatrick is a recovering addict in Warren County, Ala., where the death rate for 35- to 44-year-old women has increased by 170 percent since 1999.

No longer ‘Mayberry’: A small Ohio city fights an epidemic of self-destruction

In Chillicothe, rising opioid addiction cuts more white working-class lives short.

‘How’s Amanda?’: A story of truth, lies and an American addiction

The days of waiting -- for a key injection that could help curb her heroin cravings -- seem to go on forever.

Life lessons from a small-town undertaker as white women die younger in America

A Kentucky undertaker and a funeral-home owner ruminate on lost members of their community.

Orphaned by America’s opioid epidemic

After losing their parents to overdoses, three children in West Virginia confront what it means to grow up in the midst of one of the country's biggest public health crises.

Opioids and anti-anxiety medication are killing white American women

A deadly combination of opiates and benzodiazepines, often prescribed in tandem, play a major role in the historic increase in white female mortality in America.
  • Aug 31, 2016

A river of lost souls runs through western Colorado

White, middle-aged women are dying by suicide in unprecedented numbers.

For women, heavy drinking has been normalized. That’s dangerous.

And experts say alcohol companies target women with messages that promote heavy drinking.

One-third of long-term users say they’re hooked on prescription opioids

And 6 in 10 day say doctors aren’t helping them figure out how to quit.

Why death rates for white women in rural America are spiking

People in these various demographic groups have significantly diverging death rates. White women living in less-urban areas, in particular, have seen a stark increase in death rates — as much as 40 percent in some age groups.

White women are dying faster all over America — but what about where you live?

Across the country, middle-aged white women are dying at staggeringly higher rates, particularly from drug overdoses, suicides and excessive drinking.
(Matt McClain / The Washington Post)
(Matt McClain / The Washington Post)

Investigation: The DEA slowed enforcement while the opioid epidemic grew out of control

Enforcement cases dwindled to a “stunningly low” number after a change in policy by the agency.
  • Oct 23, 2016

How drugs intended for patients ended up in the hands of illegal users: ‘No one was doing their job’

Wholesale distributors sent pills to drugstores that fueled the opioid epidemic.

Drug industry hired dozens of officials from the DEA as the agency tried to curb opioid abuse

Critics say the revolving door undercuts the agency’s ability to curb the rising opioid epidemic.

The drug industry’s answer to opioid addiction: More pills

A multibillion-dollar industry deals with addiction and side effects by developing new drugs.

Tom Vilsack’s lonely fight for a ‘forgotten’ rural America

The agriculture secretary sees his own story in the rural drug crisis.