Pat Beall is an award-winning investigative reporter at the Palm Beach Post in Florida. She has investigated the addiction recovery industry and in 2016 helped assemble the first-ever inventory of people in Palm Beach County who died of opioid overdose.
Post reporters knew it was a huge public health crisis that needed to be exposed because little was being done to stop the dying. They decided to unveil the scope of the epidemic and put a face on the people dying by telling each and every story of the 216 men and women who lost their lives to heroin-related overdoses in Palm Beach County in 2015. Until The Post began its reporting, no one had compiled a comprehensive list in the county of the people who had overdosed on heroin, fentanyl or illicit morphine.
As a result, local politicians, police and fire-rescue officials and community advocates lacked the most basic information needed to combat the epidemic. The linchpin of the project would be a single image, the wall of photos on the paper’s front page.
Beall will be speaking at Covering the Opioid Crisis in New York on March 3.