Opioid Crisis, Like Counts, Video Games and Violence

Opioid Crisis, Like Counts, Video Games and Violence

Top of Mind with Julie Rose

  • Oct 9, 2020 8:00 pm
  • 1:44:35 mins

Tracking the Pill Shipments that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic (0:33) Guest: Eric Eyre, Pulitzer Prize-winning Reporter, Author of “Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic” Opioids continue to cause the majority of drug overdose deaths in America. For much of the last 15 years, prescription pain pills were the main culprit in those deaths and West Virginia was the epicenter of the problem. Several of its rural counties had the highest overdose death rates in the nation. No coincidence, they were also being flooded with pills. One small pharmacy in a tiny town called Kermit, West Virginia distributed 12 million pills in three years. The town has a population of just 358 people. And something similar was happening in counties all across America. Why did drug makers and distributors keep sending the pills? Where were the pharmacy oversight boards, the local police, the federal drug authorities? (Originally aired on April 16, 2020). Is Hiding the Popularity of Instagram Posts Going to Make Us Less Depressed? (36:15) Guest: Ofir Turel, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences, Cal State Fullerton People have been spending more time on social media during the pandemic–which makes total sense since so many of our in-person interactions are curtailed. One downside to life on social media is how easy it is to get obsessed with the number of “likes” your post gets. Instagram has experimented with hiding that running total of likes from the public, so only the person who made the post would know how many likes it had. Instagram’s CEO said the idea would be to “create a less-pressurized environment” where people can focus on “expressing themselves.” (Originally aired January 23, 2020). How Perceived Threat Shapes Countries (52:55) Guest: Michele Gelfand, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, Author of “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World” It’s unusual for one threat to affect every single country in the world like COVID-19 is right now. Typically, threats are more specific to one country or region–like a hurricane or a civil war. Psychologist Michele Gelfand says the level of threat a country experiences affects its laws and culture. Fewer threats make for a more open, permissive society. Places with a lot of pressing hazards tend to have stricter laws and enforcement. We’ve certainly seen that play out in how different countries have responded to the threat of COVID-19. (Originally aired on October 24, 2019).  Little Free Libraries Bring Free Books to Neighborhoods Near You (1:10:03) Guest: Margret Aldrich, Media and Programming Manager, Little Free Library, Author of "The Little Free Library Book" You may have come across a birdhouse-shaped box with books inside and a sign that says, “Little Free Libraries.” There are 100,000 of them in 108 countries. Take a book, leave a book. During the pandemic, some have been converted into pantries offering food and other basics. (Originally aired October 3, 2019). Video Games and the Relation to Teen Violence: Is the Blame Justified? (1:26:04) Guest: James D. Ivory, Professor and Research Director, Department of Communication, Virginia Tech Politicians of both parties have, for years, blamed violent video games for contributing to real-world gun violence. The debate intensifies after a school shooting takes place. A number of perpetrators over the years have been known to play video games. Logically, it makes sense that spending hours shooting people indiscriminately in a virtual world might translate into real world behavior. (Originally aired September 5, 2019).