The Emmy-nominated documentary series, Here’s the Story, kicked off a brand new season on Wednesday, October 26 on NJTV with an episode entitled, “A Family Disease.” The documentary follows writer Alicia Cook, who lost her cousin Jessica to a heroin overdose ten years ago when they were both young. The 29-minute documentary, that was filmed over the course of five months, watches as Cook, her family, and fellow advocates discuss openly how the drug and disease of addiction alters not only the life of the user, but the entire family, forever.

Cook, whose writing on addiction has been viewed by millions, hails from New Jersey – specifically Ocean County, where heroin use and related deaths due to drug use are at an all-time high. The opioid epidemic, fueled by both heroin addiction and prescription opioids, is devastating these communities and families. New Jersey’s heroin overdose death rate is triple the soaring U.S. rate with Ocean County accounting for 13% of people in New Jersey admitted for heroin or opioid treatment. In the last six years, there have been 184,038 people admitted to New Jersey substance abuse treatment facilities for heroin and opioid abuse.

Congressman Thomas MacArthur, who represents NJ’s 3rd District (Ocean and Burlington Counties) appears in the documentary. His team organized a special event for Cook and the community on Monday, October 24 in Toms River.

Screen grab from Here’s the Story: A Family Disease; produced by Steve Rogers