Love, Loss & Addiction: NHPR Reporting Featured in National Podcast on Opioid Crisis

Oct 18, 2017

Daniel Couzins
Credit (Courtesy of Jennifer Couzins)

An intimate story of addiction, grief, and a couple in crisis will air on New Hampshire Public Radio and via a nationally distributed podcast focusing on the ongoing public health threat posed by opioid use.

A report by former NHPR Health and Science Reporter Jack Rodolico, now with WBUR in Boston, will air during Reveal - a website, public radio program, podcast and social media platform from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Through those channels, the Center shares investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling. The Reveal program where Rodolico’s report will appear also involves a partnership with The Washington Post and 60 Minutes.

Over a two-year period, Rodolico produced an extensive piece of audio reporting that focuses on the story of a Portsmouth couple: Daniel and Jennifer Couzins. Daniel, a 31-year old bank manager, died May 22, 2015, of a fentanyl overdose. His wife Jennifer, a nurse, found his body. A ‘video diary’ left behind by Daniel on his mobile phone forms the basis of Rodolico’s report.

“Jennifer quite simply worked her tail off to try to save Daniel’s life from his spiraling addiction,” said Rodolico. “When he died, she requested all of the crime scene photos and the recording of the 911 call. She wanted all the information she could gather so she could try to make sense of his tragic death.”

Months after Daniel’s death, Jennifer learned from a detective that Daniel had recorded videos on his phone during the last month of his life – a phone that had been entered as evidence in the case. Much of the video content reveals Daniel talking about why he used drugs, but also pointing to his ongoing depression and anxiety as underlying issues in his addiction.

Jennifer approached Jack about reporting the story, and Jack in turn gave Jennifer a recording kit. She watched the videos and then recorded her reactions once she saw her husband’s video testimonials. In Jack’s report, both Daniel and Jennifer’s stories and voices are intertwined, catching both Daniel on his heartbreaking downward trajectory, and Jennifer’s reaction as she tries to save him.

“To hear from a person who died in this fashion – after they died – just doesn’t happen. It’s like watching a train crash in slow motion. From the tapes, I get the sense it was not what he wanted for himself,” said Rodolico.

“By now, many in the Granite State are sadly acquainted with the statistics about drug addiction,” said Daniel Barrick, News Director at NHPR. “Jack’s reporting – which took place largely when he was still with us at NHPR - shines a very personal light on the ongoing opioid crisis and presents a searing, honest story largely told directly by Daniel and Jennifer.”  

NHPR listeners can hear and learn more about Rodolico’s compelling report through the following NHPR and Reveal channels:

Friday, October 20: NHPR Host Rick Ganley will interview Jack Rodolico and Jennifer Couzins during Morning Edition. (5 – 9 a.m. on NHPR)

Friday, October 20: A four-minute excerpt of the story will appear during All Things Considered on NHPR (4-6 p.m.)

Sunday, October 22: The full report will air during Reveal, broadcast on NHPR at 4 p.m.

Saturday, October 28: The full report will air during The Best of Public Radio program from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on NHPR.

NHPR’s news team continues to report on the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire – an epidemic that has claimed hundreds of lives. Crossroad: The NH Opioid Reporting Project, explores how government, the healthcare system, local communities, and individuals are responding to the crisis. 

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About NHPR

Since 1981, NHPR has shaped the media landscape in the Granite State and beyond. Our mission is “Expanding minds, sparking connections, building stronger communities.” NHPR is broadcast from 14 different sites, making it by far New Hampshire’s largest (and only) statewide radio news service. Every week, NHPR is the choice of more than 177,000 listeners as a primary source of in-depth and intelligent news coverage, with thousands more viewing NHPR.org and NHPR social media sites. Each day, New Hampshire Public Radio delivers several hours of local news reported by its award-winning News Department. Locally-produced shows include The Exchange, Word of Mouth, The Folk Show, Outside/In and numerous podcasts. NHPR is the exclusive outlet for NPR News in the Granite State and broadcasts national weekly programs such as A Prairie Home Companion, The Moth Radio HourWait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and This American Life.