A new series focusing on heroin addiction in the U.S. begins tonight on The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. In The Shadow of Death: Jason’s Journey follows a 30 year-old heroin addict named Jason Amaral as he tries to overcome his addiction to the drug. Amaral has been addicted to heroin for more than 10 years, has overdosed eight times and been through countless detox programs.
In part one of the series, CBS News Correspondent DeMarco Morgan follows Amaral the day before he enters rehab. Amaral is shown doing heroin, talking about the drugs he does on a daily basis and how he goes about procuring them. It’s a look into the life of an addict.
“We wanted to look behind the numbers and find a compelling story of someone who is trying to beat an addiction that’s killing thousands of people every year,” said field producer Jonathan Blakely. “There’s this image of what an addict looks like, but what you will see from Jason is that he could be your next door neighbor, your classmate, your co-worker. Jason challenges our notions of what it means to be an addict.”
CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds will also provide an overall look at the heroin epidemic in America, in addition to Morgan’s series starter tonight.
CBS Evening News has undergone a transformation since its executive producer Steve Capus arrived at the Eye two years ago. The program has increased the number of long-form, investigative reports and features, and ratings in the news demo are up year-over-year. Additionally, Capus is a big supporter of the series:
“It is important that viewers get an unfiltered look into the world of addiction. This series aims to allow people to see, in real time, what heroin addiction really looks like. We follow a 30-year old man from Needham, Massachusetts from morning until night, as he hunts for money, buys drugs, snorts or inject the drugs, and then starts the sad, vicious cycle all over again. It was important to us to find someone before they entered rehab, so that we could give viewers a better understanding of why heroin addiction is so devastating. It may have a scared straight effect on anyone thinking about trying an opioid. It may also help someone in the throes of addiction to get help, as our main character seeks life-saving assistance. We spend seven-weeks with him as he undergoes treatment.”