Overdose: Inside the Epidemic, a Second Opinion Special

(Rochester, NY) – WXXI-TV brings viewers an hour-long Second Opinion special that sheds light on opioid and heroin addiction. Overdose: Inside the Epidemic, airing Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 8 p.m., comes at a critical time as heroin addiction has exploded in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010, and from 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates increased by 20.6%, with nearly 13,000 people dying in 2015.

Overdose: Inside the Epidemic features Mary and Joe Mullin of Irondequoit, New York, whose son struggled with drug abuse, opioid use and heroin addiction. Patrick Mullin eventually died from a heroin overdose. Just eight weeks after Patrick’s death, Mary and Joe courageously share their story – telling their vivid personal experience of Patrick’s decline from alcohol and marijuana use, into opioid and heroin addiction. A close-knit family, the Mullins watched their son grow from a happy infant into a star lacrosse player and student. But even as he was surrounded by a loving family and friends, his addiction took over his life.

The Mullins and Second Opinion host Dr. Peter Salgo are joined by experts Louis E. Baxter, Sr., MD, President and CEO of the Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey, Inc. and Lisa Y. Harris, MD, Chief Physician Informaticist at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, and former Senior VP and Chief Clinical Officer at Lourdes. The show also feature’s Patrick Seche, MS, addiction specialist from the University of Rochester Medical Center. In front of a live studio audience, they discuss this drug epidemic, offer advice on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse, and share cutting-edge information on prevention and effective treatment. For more information about this special, visit: https://www.secondopinion-tv.org/overdose.

Immediately after the hour-long special, WXXI-TV will host a live, local forum to continue the conversation along with a phone bank where individuals can call in with questions and learn more about local resources to help with addiction. Second Opinion LIVE will air from 9 to 9:30 p.m. and WXXI will keep the phone banks open for an additional half hour to answer viewers' questions. This forum was made possible with a generous grant by the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation. Second Opinion’s major funder, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, assisted in providing resource materials for this special, and Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield is partnering with WXXI on local outreach and engagement.

Following our special Second Opinion programming and town hall, WXXI-TV will air Reversing the Stigma at 9:30 p.m. This documentary includes stories from New Yorkers in recovery from substance use disorders. The film also examines the steps New York State is taking to address addiction and to support people whose lives it has touched.

WXXI will continue to address the opioid and heroin epidemic by providing continuing opportunities for engagement and awareness on the issue, including:

  • Hélène Biandudi Hofer hosts a special edition of Need to Know addressing addiction issues on November 2 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV.
  • Evan Dawson will host a special edition of Connections live from The Little Theatre featuring a panel of people in recovery and experts, taking questions from a studio audience. Date TBA.
  • WXXI News will provide special coverage of the issue from health reporter Karen Shakerdge and others.
  • WXXI is creating DVD resources for distribution to local health centers and community partners.

Second Opinion, a national multimedia health initiative that reaches an engaged audience through television, web, social media, and community and national outreach, is an Emmy Award-nominated public television series hosted by Dr. Peter Salgo. Launched in 2004, the goal of the national health care series is to promote good health, improve doctor/patient communication and empower viewers to take charge of their own healthcare, and in turn, help them navigate the medical system for better health outcomes. The series produced by WXXI Public Broadcasting, West 175 Productions and the University of Rochester Medical Center, and is distributed by American Public Television. To learn more about Second Opinion and watch past episodes, visit: secondopinion-tv.org

Pictured (L-R):  Joe and Mary Mullin, Dr. Lisa Harris, Dr. Peter Salgo, Dr. Louis E. Baxter, Sr.
Credit: Nic Minetor



WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.