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A New Task Force on Opioids

A New Task Force on Opioids

Renee speaks with State Representatives McKenzie Cantrell and Joni Jenkins of South Louisville about convening a task force of professionals and community members to study and address the opioid abuse epidemic in their district.
S13 E36 Length 28:07 Premiere: 7.6.18

Legislators Create Task Force on Opioid Abuse

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 1,600 Kentuckians died from a drug overdose between November 2016 and November 2017. That was a 14 percent increase over the previous year’s death toll.

Among the hardest hit areas of the commonwealth are portions of southwestern Jefferson County. In Shively, Beechmont, and surrounding neighborhoods, 57 people died from drug overdoses in 2017, according to a report by Insider Louisville.

That prompted two Democratic state lawmakers representing those areas to engage residents of those communities in the search for solutions to the drug crisis. Rep. McKenzie Cantrell of the 38th House district and Rep. Joni Jenkins of the 44th House district appeared on KET’s Connections to discuss the work of their South Louisville Task Force on Opioids.

Task Force Open to All Ideas
The drug issue hits especially close to home for Rep. Jenkins. Five years ago, she lost her 23-year-old nephew to a heroin overdose. He had been in treatment for a year, and clean for several months when he died. Jenkins says too many people in her district share that experience.

“Over the years I’ve gotten so many calls from families saying we don’t know where to turn, we don’t know what to do,” says Jenkins. “The thing that we have seen with opioid addiction is there’s really no zip code that is untouched, and it goes right across all the demographics.”

After they saw the report that listed zip codes within their districts as having more accidental overdose deaths than any other part of Jefferson County, the two lawmakers decided to create a task force of professionals and community leaders to develop recommendations for addressing the crisis. The group held its first public meeting on June 21.

“Every part of Louisville is a little bit different,” says Rep. Cantrell. “So we wanted to bring everyone together in the room and be sure that people and families are able to make the connections to the services that already exist in our community.”

One goal, according to Jenkins, is to break down barriers between residents, service providers, criminal justice officials, and lawmakers so that information and ideas can flow more freely. She says that she and Cantrell heard from people who need help finding treatment options for family members and learning how to use insurance to pay for those services. Faith leaders spoke of wanting to help, but not knowing what their churches could do.

And some people shared actionable ideas. For example, a local mental health provider could make individuals in recovery available to serve as peer counselors to overdose victims treated at south Louisville’s Saints Mary and Elizabeth Hospital. Jenkins says she and Cantrell also want to encourage business owners to provide more job opportunities for people in recovery.

“They have questions and concerns,” says Jenkins. “I think if we can link those folks with some employers here in Louisville Metro who are doing that right now, [it] takes away some of those unknowns and makes it a little less scary or mysterious about what could happen.”

Cantrell says she was surprised to hear from residents who want to know what to do when they suspect drug activity coming from a nearby home.

“Everyone sort of knows the house on the street where the drugs are coming from,” Cantrell says. “How can we respect everyone’s Constitutional rights to the privacy of their own home but also take care of crime emanating from that home, and how can neighbors feel safe about reporting criminal activity in their own neighborhood?”

Turning Ideas into Legislative Solutions
The lawmakers hope these community discussions will lead to legislation that can be proposed by Louisville Metro Council members or in the Kentucky General Assembly. Jenkins says addressing the opioid crisis will save lives and save money. Drug crimes have helped drive the state’s prison population to about 24,000 people.

“I don’t think our citizens are worse than other states’ citizens, but we do have this bent on incarcerating way too many people,” Jenkins says.

“We incarcerate a lot of parents, too,” Cantrell adds. “The children of Kentucky really disproportionately have more caregivers incarcerated than in other states.”

State lawmakers have already discussed new sentencing guidelines and better treatment options as a way of reducing prison populations. They also implemented felony expungement for certain low-level offenders who have completed their sentences and remained crime-free for five years.

Frankfort lawmakers have been reluctant to embrace other ideas for reducing addiction. Legislators debated the merits of needle exchange programs for two years before enacting a law in 2015 that lets local communities decide whether to allow addicts to trade used drug syringes for clean ones. Jenkins and Cantrell say the programs help prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV, and they provide opportunities for counselors to foster relationships with drug users and encourage them into treatment.

Some states are considering an idea that takes needle exchanges a step further. They propose to create “safe injection sites” where people can go to inject heroin or opioids in the presence of a medical professional who could help prevent an overdose.

“Some people would look at that as enabling,” Jenkins says. “But it’s another point of intervention to build a relationship.”

Medical marijuana is another treatment option that lawmakers could consider, says Cantrell. Some researchers believe that marijuana could be a viable alternative to opioid painkillers and could help reduce overdose deaths. But such treatments would necessitate laws to remove criminal punishments for marijuana use.

Considering the state’s skyrocketing prison costs and jail populations, Cantrell says that its important to explore these and other alternatives for helping criminal offenders with an addiction.

“The cost of treatment is less than the cost of incarceration, so if we’re able to give people that chance, then we should do so,” says Cantrell.

With every state House member and half of the state Senate up for re-election this year, Jenkins says the composition of the legislature could look very different when it convenes in January. She says she hopes those fresh faces will bring a new openness to considering innovative ideas for addressing the state’s drug addiction crisis.

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Kevin Chapman - S10 E28

Clinical psychologist Kevin Chapman of Louisville discusses anxiety disorders and an innovative approach called virtual reality exposure therapy to help ease those conditions.

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Renee Shaw talks with filmmaker Sarah Burns about her new documentary Muhammad Ali, a six-year project that offers viewers a multifaceted look at Louisville's most famous son who went on to become heavyweight champion of the world as well as one of the world's most charismatic and controversial figures.

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Kiley Lane Parker - S10 E29

Filmmaker Kiley Lane Parker discusses her film, Raising Ms. President, about raising the next generation of female political leaders.

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Pellom McDaniels - S10 E30

Pellom McDaniels, faculty curator of African-American collections and assistant professor of African-American studies at Emory University in Atlanta, talks about his book, The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy.

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Jay Williams - S10 E33

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams is a former mayor of Youngstown, Ohio. From the recent SOAR summit in Pikeville, he talks about how Youngstown recovered from the decline of the steel industry and how those lessons can apply to Eastern Kentucky areas distressed by the sharp downturn in coal jobs.

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Susan and Morgan Guess - S10 E34

Susan Guess and her daughter, Morgan, began the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation nearly four years ago after Morgan experienced bullying. They have raised $50,000 to bring a variety of anti-bullying programs to the region. Susan Guess was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear in 2014 to serve on the Kentucky Bully Prevention Task Force, which will make recommendations to the governor in fall 2015.

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Diabetes Epidemic - S10 E20

Gilbert Friedell, MD, and J. Isaac Joyner, MPH, discuss their book, The Great Diabetes Epidemic: A Manifesto for Control and Prevention. The book advocates taking a public health approach to addressing diabetes, emphasizes prevention of diabetes-related complications, and encourages more community responsiveness.

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Cathy Zion - Zion Publications LLC - S10 E38

Cathy Zion became owner and publisher of Zion Publications in 1996, after a long career in banking. Her company publishes Today's Woman, and added new magazines, Today's Transitions and Today's Family.

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Gigi Butler - Gigi's Cupcakes - S10 E39

Gigi Butler opened her first Gigi's Cupcakes location just off of music row in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008 and in six short years, with 98 locations and counting, Gigi's is now the largest cupcake franchise in the world.

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Cathe Dykstra - Family Scholar House - S10 E41

Cathe Dykstra, chief possibility officer, president & CEO of Family Scholar House, discusses the Louisville organization and its impact on families and communities. Family Scholar House's mission is to end the cycle of poverty by providing housing and educational support to single-parent students and their families.

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Infant Nutrition and Breastfeeding - S10 E42

Renee and her guests discuss the health benefits of breastfeeding in recognition of national breastfeeding week, as well as provide tips on proper infant nutrition. Scheduled guests include: Doraine Bailey, MA, IBCLC, Breastfeeding Support Services with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Dept.; Ana Maria Linares, an associate professor in the UK College of Nursing and a Lactation Consultant who has conducted research on attitudes and practices around breastfeeding among Latinas in Lexington; and Nicole Peritore, program coordinator for the Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) Office at the University of Kentucky.

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Andre Taylor - S10 E43

Andre Taylor has a distinguished 35-year career, building and advising businesses. He's the author of You Can Still Win! and a half-dozen other books, a frequent guest expert on ABC News, and an international authority on winning and leadership. Mr. Taylor was a speaker at the 13th Annual Lexington Bluegrass Area Minority Business Expo.

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JoAnne Wheeler Bland - S10 E44

Renee talks with transgender activist JoAnne Wheeler Bland, who in her sixties transitioned from male to female. A practicing attorney for more than 40 years, she is a former Special Justice on the Kentucky Supreme Court, former Vice-President of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, current member of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education's Committee on Equal Opportunity (the Diversity Committee), and guest speaker at Women's and Gender Studies programs at Kentucky universities.

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Faith Politics - S10 E45

Renee and her guests talk about the role of religion in politics and public policy decision-making. Guests: Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, pastor of New Union Christian Church, and Rev. D. Anthony Everett, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church.

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Kinship Care - S10 E46

Kentucky has one of the highest rates in the nation of children being raised by grandparents and other relatives, also known as kinship care. Renee and her guests discuss what research tells us about the financial, emotional, and legal challenges that kinship care poses. Guests: Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, and Jeanne Miller-Jacobs, a kinship care provider.

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Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk - S11 E2

Renee Shaw interviews new Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk, who talks about his experiences in public education and his goals for the district.

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The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia - Gerald Smith - S11 E3

Renee's guest is Dr. Gerald Smith, an author and history professor at the University of Kentucky, and co-editor of The Kentucky African-American Encyclopedia: Life and Culture in the Commonwealth. The reference book contains entries on the individuals, events, places, organizations, movements, and institutions that helped shape the state's history and cultural diversity.

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Childhood Cancer - S11 E4

September is childhood cancer awareness month. Renee talks with survivors and parents about their experiences and the research on the rare maladies striking youth.

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Kellie Blair Hardt - S11 E5

Renee speaks with special education teacher Kellie Blair Hardt, who overcame homelessness, an absent mother, an alcoholic father and school expulsion to earn her GED. She received the National Education Association Foundation's 2013 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence as one of the nation's top educators. Hardt is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education at George Mason University. She was featured in KET's series Dropping Back In.

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Jacinda Townsend - S11 E6

Author Jacinda Townsend discusses her critically acclaimed novel, Saint Monkey, a coming-of-age story set in 1950's Eastern Kentucky. The book won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Townsend is a former Hurston-Wright Award finalist and currently teaches creative writing at Indiana University.

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15K Degrees Initiative - S10 E13

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Jefferson County Veterans Treatment Court - S10 E11

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Cynthia Knapek - Leadership Louisville Center

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Bill Farmer - S10 E8

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Diane Follingstad - UK Women's Circle Endowment Chair - S10 E6

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Kevin Chapman - S10 E5

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Soreyda Benedit Begley and Chris Begley - S10 E3

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Chris Rabb - S10 E1

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  • Friday September 3, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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  • Friday September 3, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tanya Torp and Holly Houston - S9 E46

  • Thursday September 2, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Frontier Nursing University - S9 E45

  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence - S9 E44

  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marta Miranda - S9 E43

  • Monday August 30, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

  • Sunday September 5, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Judi Jennings - S9 E42

  • Friday August 27, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dr. Robert Hilgers - S9 E41

  • Thursday August 26, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Wil James - S9 E40

  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

African Americans and Mental Health - S9 E39

  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Charisse Gillett - Lexington Theological Seminary - S9 E38

  • Monday August 23, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

  • Sunday August 29, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Chef and Activist Dan Wu

  • Sunday August 22, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 21, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 21, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Dr. Timothy M. Houchin - S9 E37

  • Friday August 20, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Mental Health Courts - S9 E36

  • Thursday August 19, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY
Top

Season 13 Episodes

Marcie Timmerman - Mental Health and Wellness

S13 E43 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 8.24.18

Tiffany Manuel - Affordable Housing

S13 E42 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 8.17.18

Jessica Dueñas - 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year

S13 E41 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 8.10.18

2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book

S13 E37 Length 28:48 Premiere Date 7.13.18

A New Task Force on Opioids

S13 E36 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 7.6.18

Shining a Spotlight on Epilepsy

S13 E35 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 6.29.18

Criminal Justice Reform

S13 E34 Length 28:32 Premiere Date 6.22.18

Jay Box - Kentucky Community and Technical College

S13 E33 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 6.15.18

Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis

S13 E32 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 6.8.18

Bob King - Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

S13 E31 Length 28:09 Premiere Date 6.1.18

Rachel Childress - Lexington Habitat for Humanity

S13 E30 Length 26:22 Premiere Date 5.25.18

2018 Kentucky Primary Races

S13 E29 Length 29:52 Premiere Date 5.18.18

Dr. Donna Grigsby

S13 E28 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 5.11.18

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention

S13 E27 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 5.4.18

Kosair Charities Face It Movement; Terry Brooks

S13 E25 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 4.20.18

Child Marriage Laws in Kentucky - Donna Pollard

S13 E24 Length 28:42 Premiere Date 4.13.18

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

S13 E23 Length 29:22 Premiere Date 4.6.18

Secretary Derrick Ramsey - Apprenticeships

S13 E22 Length 28:09 Premiere Date 2.23.18

Educational Innovation

S13 E21 Length 28:45 Premiere Date 2.16.18

Gerald Smith

S13 E20 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 2.9.18

Perry Bacon Jr.

S13 E18 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 2.2.18

DV8 Kitchen

S13 E17 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 1.19.18

Silas House, New Novel

S13 E16 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 1.16.18

Tawanda Owsley

S13 E15 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 1.5.18

Sexual Harassment Issues

S13 E14 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 12.15.17

Disability Rates and Benefits

S13 E13 Length 27:27 Premiere Date 12.8.17

Good Samaritans

S13 E12 Length 28:42 Premiere Date 11.17.17

A Salute to Heroes

S13 E10 Length 26:18 Premiere Date 11.10.17

Legislative Health Policy

S13 E9 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 11.3.17

Elder Care

S13 E8 Length 29:31 Premiere Date 10.27.17

Preventing Youth Suicide

S13 E7 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 10.20.17

A Proposal for Pension Reform

S13 E6 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10.13.17

Rethinking Pain Medication

S13 E5 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10.6.17

Former Gov. Steve Beshear

S13 E4 Length 28:53 Premiere Date 9.29.17

Secretary Elaine Chao

S13 E3 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.22.17

Smoking Cessation and Pregnancy

S13 E2 Length 29:32 Premiere Date 9.8.17

Author and Journalist Sam Quinones

S13 E1 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.1.17

Author and Journalist Sam Quinones

Preview Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.1.17

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