Dr. Sanjay Gupta Explores U.S. Opioid Crisis, Reintroduces Viewers to Haiti in Summer 2017

By A.J. Katz 

Politics might be all the rage right now, but CNN’s chief medical correspondent and acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a number of stories coming up that take a look at some of the most relevant domestic and global health-related issues today.

One of them focuses on the opioid epidemic, a problem that impacts millions in this country, directly and indirectly.

“We will be looking at seemingly everything in regard to this epidemic, including border security when it comes these types of drugs that get into this country,” Gupta told TVNewser. “We’ll also be looking at a facility here in New York that is basically a consumption room which allows users to use opioids under the watchful eye of people who can take care of them, and save them if they overdose. It’s very controversial.”


Gupta is also hosting a prime time special called Champions for Change, which will air Saturday night and highlights CNN and HLN anchors who have been out in the field, spending time and sharing the stories of people who are doing extraordinary things on behalf of causes that are close to these TV newsers’ hearts. Anderson Cooper, Poppy Harlow, and Don Lemon, are a few of those involved in the spcial.

Gupta’s story shines a line on the work of Partners in Health, an organization which works with local government officials and the world’s leading medical and academic institutions to build and strengthen health systems.

Haiti has become a beneficiary of the organization’s resources, and is a nation Gupta has become quite familiar with over the years. “Haiti is a place that has changed me, helped form how I think about the world and medicine,” said Gupta.

Gupta has visited the island nation a number of times going back to his college years, most notably spending a number weeks reporting for CNN on the tragic earthquake that decimated the nation in 2010.

“I’ve been back to Haiti about dozen times since that 2010 earthquake, there’s a group of us in the world of neurosurgery that have been down to a couple of different hospitals down there to help set up neurosurgical capabilities and operate, so myself, my colleagues from Emory University, some of the residents,” said Gupta. “It’s a place that’s really important to me.”

“Even before the earthquake, this was a country where only about 50 percent of the nation had access to clean water. It’s really reflective of what kind of infrastructure they have. Also, it’s been a dynamic situation, meaning that there have been a number of hurricanes, including Hurricane Matthew, there’s been a cholera outbreak. But there has definitely been some improvement, particularly on the medical side. Partners in Health built a state-of-the-art hospital that I myself have operated in. So in that regard, life has improved a bit.”

“We need to remember that Haiti is our neighbor, and deserves our help and attention,” said Gupta.