A multi-part series presented by CBS Evening News follows Jason Amaral, a 30-year-old heroin addict living in Boston. The first part of the series “In the Shadow of Death: Jason’s Journey” aired on May 16, and can be watched online here. The second part aired yesterday and will be likely be available online soon.
Jason allowed CBS to follow him as he tried to get money and drugs.
“Your eyes open, you think about heroin. Nothing else, nothing else.”
“And any addict that’s watching this will like … will attest to that. And if you don’t have money, you’re thinking about how to get money to get heroin immediately.”
On the day before he was to begin rehab, Jason began looking for heroin at 7:30 in the morning. He calls his aunt in Florida, asking for $30 cash. She agreed to send it to him via Western Union,.
He then took a train to meet a friend who gave him some anti-anxiety medication (Klonopin) to take the edge off.
Jason then went into a basement bathroom in City Hall where he crushed and snorted the pills.
By noon, Jason had obtained more drugs from friends:
“I just did some heroin, and I was sick,” he told us.
“I just did a shot and I’m very, very high, and I feel great. And I’m gonna go do what I need to do to make money, you know what I mean? That’s just how it is.”
But no addict sets out to be an addict. Jason grew up in Massachusetts with his younger brother Andrew. Jason’s mother was single and a good parent, but died from cancer when he was just 11. The two boys were then raised by their father.
Like many young adults, Jason began experimenting with drugs in college. It started with the prescription opioid OxyContin, and then progressed on to heroin.
On the morning of the taping, Jason admitted doing heroin, klonopin, Xanas, cocaine, and crack – all in the last three days.
By the evening, Jason was at a friend’s house, doing heroin mixed with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug which can be 50 times more powerful than heroin itself.
Jason received a call from his brother Andrew, who is also a heroin addict. He called to tell Jason that he was dropping out of a detox clinic. Jason begged his brother not to leave, but continued doing drugs himself.
Jason’s best friend arrived later. He is the person who would take Jason to rehab the next morning. Part 2 of the series picks up with Jason in rehab and his path to recovery.