HUNTINGTON, W. Va. — Larrecsa Cox steered past the used tire shop, where a young man had collapsed a few days before, the syringe he’d used to shoot heroin still clenched in his fist.
She wound toward his house in the hills outside of town. The man had been revived by paramedics, and Cox leads a team with a mission of finding every overdose survivor to save them from the next one.
The road narrowed, and the man’s mother stood in pink slippers in the rain to meet her. People have been dying all around her. Her nephew. Her neighbors. Then, almost, her son.
“People I’ve known all my life since I was born, it takes both hands to count them,” she said. “In the last six months, they’re gone.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic killed more than a half-million Americans, it also quietly inflamed what was before it one of the country’s greatest public health crises: addiction. The Centers