‘Heroin USA’ TV Special Filmed In Northern Kentucky Airing Sunday

Sep 22, 2015

Soledad O'Brien talking to former Covington Police Chief Michael "Spike" Jones.
Credit Al Jazeera America

Soledad O’Brien came to Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati suburbs for her one-hour “Heroin USA” documentary because Greater Cincinnati “has recently become the center of the nation’s heroin epidemic," says the show publicist.

“Heroin USA: A Soledad O'Brien Special Report,” airing at 10 p.m. Sunday on the Al Jazeera America network, will be told through three area residents: Olivia DeLand; Sarah Kordenbrock , a former Covington high school volleyball captain; and the late Mike Heffron, who died from a heroin overdose in 2013.

The network describes them this way:

Sarah Kordenbrock of Covington “was first prescribed Percocet – an opioid – by her doctor after suffering a knee injury at the age of 18. She enjoyed how the drug made her feel, and before long Sarah went from being the captain of her high school volleyball and softball teams to becoming addicted to heroin because ‘it got to the point where pain pills were too expensive,’ ” says the network’s show description.

Olivia DeLand explains “the excruciating steps taken by the women and their families in an attempt to overcome addiction.”

Mike Heffron, “once a promising golfer who grew up in an upper-middle class family… explains how heroin had robbed him of his life and his future, and admits to knowing that ‘this drug will kill me eventually if I keep using.’ Despite this, Heffron was unable to overcome his addiction, dying at the age of 34 from a heroin overdose.”

O’Brien calls them the “new face of the heroin epidemic: young, well-off and white,” says the network media release. On the YouTube preview, one of the women says she "died and came back to life... but yet still wanted to get high." 

O'Brien came to Kenton County Jail and other locations because the number of people who died of heroin overdoses has increased almost five times from 2010 to 2013, and nearly tripled in Ohio in that span, the network says. 

The Peabody and Emmy-winning former CNN and NBC journalist contributes to CNN, HBO's “Real Sports” and Al Jazeera America through her Starfish Media Group.