A podcast devoted to harm reduction, addiction and recovery in Appalachia launches June 13 with interviews that include a range of voices in Appalachia. Titled Render, the podcast takes listeners behind the scenes with trans-women of color who are sex workers, as well as mothers battling addiction who are striving to keep their babies.
The first Render episode includes an interview with an AA recovery guide based in Blacksburg, Virginia, and a discussion of “Meth Baby, Crack Baby” – a poem written by a former foster child.
The podcast launches against a backdrop of new state laws clamping down on harm-reduction efforts. Harm reduction includes needle-exchange programs and other outreach designed to keep people with drug addictions safe, healthy and alive so that when they are receptive to treatment, chances of success are heightened. Research shows that Narcan giveaways and needle exchanges create positive outcomes, but the efforts face crippling new restrictions in West Virginia and elsewhere.
The podcast, recorded in West Virginia coalfield country, explores contemporary community and culture at ground zero of the opioid epidemic. Host Andrea Brunais, an author and former journalist, continues a lifelong career and passion of lifting up and amplifying marginalized voices and experiences. Diving into topics such as the Sacklers (now seeking immunity from future opioid lawsuits) and contemporary urban harm reduction going rural, to regional colloquialisms like Pillbilly, this podcast prioritizes the lives and work of those on the front lines of this deadly epidemic.
“Meth Baby, Crack Baby” is from the book “Hillbilly Drug Baby: The Poems” by Jesse-Ray Lewis, the companion book to Brunais’ “Hillbilly Drug Baby: The Story.”
Season One’s episodes will release each Sunday. The podcast can be found on Anchor and other platforms including Spotify, Google and Apple Podcasts. The podcast can also be accessed on https://hillbillydrugbaby.com/
Listen on Anchor, Spotify, Google and Apple Podcasts