RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — In a continued effort to address North Carolina’s enduring opioid epidemic, PBS North Carolina, in collaboration with and supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), presents the second season of Opioids: State of Recovery, a timely, in-depth look at the recovery community's support, resilience and strength. This half-hour documentary will premiere on Thursday, October 12, at 8 PM, on PBS NC and on the PBS Video App. The broadcast event will be accompanied by the online release of 10 digital shorts on and on PBS North Carolina’s YouTube channel.

The Opioids: State of Recovery project aims to remove the stigma associated with substance use and recovery and explore the roles of science, socioeconomics, law enforcement and resources in the process. The broadcast special opens the doors to discussion and incites a passion to affect positive change.

"We’re proud and honored to collaborate with our colleagues at Blue Cross NC to expand the awareness and deepen the understanding of this unrelenting public health crisis," said Lindsay Bierman, CEO of PBS North Carolina. "The series helps us see the global opioid epidemic through a powerful local lens, from the perspective of those who’ve experienced it firsthand. It’s a haunting reminder of the work we must do to rally stronger, sustainable, long-term support for substance use and recovery." 

Season one followed Leah Wright and her son, Carrson, as they recount his recovery journey after multiple drug poisonings. Season two will continue to share the Wright family’s story and follow Leah’s journey to find a new location for Wake Monarch Academy, the Triangle-based recovery high school she founded and designed to provide a sober and supportive learning environment for students in active recovery from alcohol and substance use disorder. Viewers will learn more about the structure of the school and what makes a recovery high school different from a traditional public school.

Season two will also travel to New Bern, NC, where viewers will learn how law enforcement is tackling the opioid epidemic in their community with a unique treatment-based approach. A third storyline introduces Mike Sandvig, father of Amber Garris, whose substance use ultimately contributed to an accident that killed her six-year-old daughter.

“The opioid epidemic has touched every community in North Carolina, and its impact has continued to spiral since the outbreak of the pandemic,” said Anuradha Rao-Patel, MD, lead medical director, care management and government programs at Blue Cross NC. “We recognize that this public health crisis can’t be solved by one person or one effort alone. Our collaboration with PBS NC will bring awareness to the opioid epidemic through raw, local programming, telling the stories of those affected across the state.”

The premiere of season two completes the second of three seasons of Opioids: State of Recovery. Season three is currently in production and is slated to be released in the spring of 2022.

Opioids: State of Recovery will air Thursday, October 12, at 8 PM, on PBS NC. The full episode and accompanying digital shorts will also be available on October 12 on demand at and via the PBS Video App across iOS and Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Samsung Smart TVs. For more information about Opioids: State of Recovery, visit


About PBS North Carolina 
As North Carolina’s statewide PBS network serving the country’s third-largest public media market, PBS NC educates, informs, entertains and inspires its statewide audience on-air, online and in-person. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the statewide network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery, and four over-the-air channels—PBS NC, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS Kids and the Explorer Channel. Its transformational events and content spark curiosity and wonder for all North Carolinians. Additionally, PBS NC serves as the backbone for North Carolina’s state’s emergency services. Visit and join the conversation at and @MyPBSNC on Instagram and Twitter.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of more than 4.2 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners.