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Labor Union Addresses Opioid Crisis at SWFL Drug Company Meeting

International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Travis Bornstein

The opioid epidemic began making headlines years, if not decades, ago. But it’s on the rise still. The latest statistics puts the rate of fatal overdoses at one every 13 minutes in the United States, meaning, by the end of this segment, the widespread use of these drugs will have taken another life.

This prompted President Trump to declare it a “public health emergency” back in October and the White House to host a summit on the subject just last week. There have been countless treatment centers opening up across the county and money being invested into research and prevention through treatment drugs like Vivitrol.

But, one group is going straight to what they say is the root of the problem, the big drug distributors that push these pills out across the country in the first place.

Travis Bornstein is the president of Teamsters Local 24 in Ohio, part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which is a trade union.

Bornstein joins Gulf Coast Live to talk a bit more about the Teamsters’ efforts in the face of the opioid epidemic.

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.