tv PBS News Hour PBS October 5, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, a growing call to ban "bump stocks"-- the n.r.a. joins the white house and top republicans asking to review if gun accessories, like those used in las vegas, are legal. then, congress' long to-do list puts childrens' health insurance at risk, while the g.o.p. tackles the budget and the so- called 'dreamers' program. and, our 'america addicted' series continues with a look at what the opioid crisis has done to the nation's workforce. >> i've been an employer in this area since 1983. drugs were not at the forefront when you were talking to somebody about possible employment. now, the first thing we think of is, "are they on drugs?" >> woodruff: all that and more
on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals.
>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: there's word the gunman who mowed down concert goers in las vegas, may have considered other targets, in other cities. stephen paddock killed 58 people sunday night, before taking his own life. now, it's widely reported that he had booked a hotel room in chicago overlooking the lollapalooza music festival, two months ago. other reports say he also researched hotels near fenway park in boston. the national rifle association announced today it supports regulating so-called "bump stocks." investigators say the las vegas
gunman apparently used the devices to convert semi- automatic rifles to even more lethal, automatic fire. in a statement, the n.r.a. called for a federal review. at the white house, spokeswoman sarah sanders said president trump would welcome that effort. >> we would like to see a clear understanding of the facts. and we'd like to see input from the victims' families, from law enforcement, from policy makers. and we're expecting hearings and other important fact-finding efforts on that, and we want to be part of that discussion and we're certainly open to that moving forward. >> woodruff: house speaker paul ryan joined a growing number of republican leaders today, saying congress needs to look into the issue. a new tropical storm has formed off nicaragua, and it could strike the u.s. gulf coast this weekend, as a hurricane. officials say the storm, dubbed "nate," is already blamed for 22 deaths in central america. forecasts show it's on track to cross mexico's yucatan peninsula tomorrow night and reach the u.s. mainland by sunday morning.
officials in louisiana today began to order coastal evacuations. in puerto rico, officials now say power has been restored to about nine percent of the island's customers two weeks after hurricane "maria" wrecked the island. governor ricardo rossello says he hopes to see service restored to 25% of customers within a month. the u.s. house of representatives today approved a republican budget plan worth $4.1 trillion. it revives a plan to turn medicare into a voucher-like program and to cut medicaid by about $1 trillion over 10 years. the vote split largely down party lines, with republicans and democrats arguing over whether the plan does more harm than good. >> this is a budget that reflects our first principles: freedom, free enterprise, a government accountable to the people it serves.
a budget that will help grow our economy and it's a budget that will help rein in our debt. it strengthens our national defense. it supports our men and women in uniform. >> this is a budget, their, that steals from the middle class. steals hundreds of billions of dollars from critical job creating, wage increasing investments, infrastructure, and clean energy. it harms veterans. it cuts education. it abandons rural america. >> woodruff: the budget is intended to set the stage for the consideration of tax reform legislation. the senate is expected to vote on a similar plan later this month. this was deadline day for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the u.s. illegally, as children. they scrambled to renew their work permits, and protection from being deported, for another two years. those benefits were granted under president obama's daca program, which president trump is ending.
california is now a so-called "sanctuary state" for undocumented immigrants. governor jerry brown signed this into law today. it bars police from helping federal immigration officials or from asking about a person's immigration status. the law takes effect january first. in iraq, government troops today recaptured one of the last towns held by islamic state militants. isis fighters seized hawija three years ago, as they rampaged across northern iraq. today, iraqi soldiers could be seen riding through the streets celebrating their victory. they'd been battling to liberate hawija since late last month. this year's nobel prize in literature goes to british novelist kazuo ishiguro. the japanese-born writer is known for works depicting british and japanese life, including "the remains of the day" and "never let me go." in london today, he said he tries to speak to how nations
remember their past, and how they sometimes try to bury it. >> i hope that these kinds of themes will actually be in some small way helpful to the climate we have at the moment because i think we have entered a very uncertain time in the world at the moment. >> woodruff: ishiguro said he was caught off-guard when he heard he had won the nobel, before he was officially notified. he said he thought at first, it was "fake news." republican congressman tim murphyof pennsylvania announced today he's resigning. the anti-abortion lawmaker admitted last month that he'd had an affair. this week, came reports of text messages from murphy's phone, urging his mistress to have an abortion, when he thought she was pregnant. all that info-tainment tech in new cars and trucks is distracting drivers for dangerous periods of time. aaa's foundation for traffic safety warned today the systems
are getting more complex, and taking more time to use. in the worst cases, drivers were distracted an average of 40 seconds when programming g.p.s. navigation systems or text- messaging. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained more than 113 points to close at 22,775. the nasdaq rose 50 points, and the s&p 500 added 14. still to come on the newshour: the las vegas attack raises a host of security concerns. an ambush in niger leaves three american special forces soldiers dead. on the ground in syria, where coalition troops face an intense battle for the city of raqqa. plus, much more. >> woodruff: even before the las
vegas shooting, terror attacks had raised serious questions about how to secure open spaces and so-called "soft targets." that includes hotels with their open access. now, those security concerns are front and center around the country. special correspondent cat wise reports from las vegas. >> reporter: in many ways, las vegas appears to be returning to normal. tourists crowd the streets, wedding bells are ringing. but it's also very evident this is not the same city it was four days ago. as the vegas community is still coming to terms with the worst shooting in modern u.s. history. many here, and around the country, are wondering what could be done to prevent future mass shootings in so-called soft targets like hotels and open spaces. >> i can make the safest place in the entire world and nobody will come because you can't let them back in. >> reporter: dave shepherd is a former f.b.i. agent and the former head of security at the venetian resort.
>> there's not one thing that is going to answer every question. even if you had a metal detector, even if you had wand people down you still could run into problems with a person. you are looking at this hotel trk is a hotel, it is not being done at 72,000 other hotels in the united states, it's not. >> these >> reporter: these days, whenever we fly or go to big events like games and concerts, we expect to go through metal detectors and have our belongings searched, yet very few hotels around the country, and here in las vegas, have those same tight security measures in place. investigators comb the scene at the concert venue, we ask
advice-- visitsers on the strip if more security was needed. would you be willing to go through metal detectors at hotels? >> i sure would. i definitely would. i mean when they started the extra security on airlines after 9/11. i did not mind waiting those few extra minutes while they checked me and everyone else. >> it seems like there's a lot of security here. i mean we see a lot of police officers. >> you know we feel comfortable, you know, is this an isolated incident? hopefully, at this magnitude of course it is, but as far as the safety measures, what extent do they have to go? to really control something that they can't. >> reporter: vegas casinos are notoriously secretive about their security operations, cameras are often used with high tech systems like facial recognition. but bags are rarely searched, a gap in security shooter steven paddock took advantage of when he brought in an arsenal of weapons. mgm resorts, which owns the mandalay bay hotel where paddock stayed provided a statement to
the newshour which read in part: "mgm resorts has increased its level of security" and "works consistently with local and national law enforcement agencies to keep procedures at our resorts up to date, and are always improving and evolving." golden nugget owner tilman fertitta said increasing security comes down to a question of what people will accept. >> we're not a police state, and nobody wants to live in a police state. now, besides going into a ball game or going and catching an airline, we're going to start checking everything everybody brings into a hotel? well then what's going to happen? he could have walked down the street and started shooting and would have killed 30 or 40 or 50 people. so now we're going to have somebody check you when you walk out of your house? >> reporter: at the wynn vegas casinos, security guards were screening visitors with metal- detecting wands and checking bags at random this week. and owner steve wynn has employed security guards with military training for years.
there are almost 40 of them at every opening of my building, plain clothes, armed, on the las vegas is a target city. we have hardened the target at the wynn. >> reporter: security expert dave shepherd believes the question of how to increase security goes well beyond las vegas. several news reports today said paddock had scouted locations in chicago and boston before going to las vegas. >> every property in the united states now that is a high rise building has to look to see what the procedures are. i'm sitting there in new york looking at central park are some buildings on here and a concert i'm sitting in chicago and i'm in san francisco in the park they're all going to have to look at that now. earlier today the las vegas security chiefs association met to discuss new security measures in the wake of the shooting. judy? >> woodruff: thank you, kat, reporting for us from las vegas.
let's continue our remembrances of the 58 people who were murdered when the shooter began firing into the crowd at a country music concert. as stories of heroism emerge, so do clearer pictures of the victims' lives. here are 12 more. brian fraser was moving closer to the stage, getting set for jason aldean to play his favorite song. he was shot trying to shield his wife. the 39-year-old father of four was "the definition of american," his son said. "he taught me what it meant to be an honest, motivated, driven, loving man." 21-year-old erick silva was working as a private security guard at the concert. he was killed as he helped people get out of the venue. "he would give the shirt off his back to comfort anyone," a close friend recalled. "he was such a courageous man." nicol kimura was at the concert with a group of friends who called themselves "family." the 38-year-old worked at a tax office in southern california. "she was just such an amazing
woman and she was just such a light," one of the group members said. cameron robinson worked for the city of las vegas. the 28-year-old moved to southern utah about a year ago to be with his boyfriend, and commuted two hours every day. a colleague remarked: "he was just so happy, you could see it in his face." one couple died together: denise cohen and derrick taylor had been dating for several years. each had two sons. keri lynn galvan of thousand oaks, california, was at the concert with her husband, who survived the attack. the 31-year-old had three children, ages 10, four and two. according to her sister, galvan's "days started and ended with doing everything in her power to be a wonderful mother." lisa patterson called her husband just hours before the shooting, to tell him how much fun she was having with her girlfriends. she "loved life, loved helping and there is nothing she would
not do to help someone," he noted. 44-year-old chris hazencomb was a big sports fan from camarillo, california. he jumped on top of his friends as the bullets rained down. one friend commented: "he was a very kind man that everyone loved dearly." jordyn rivera was 21 and in her fourth year at california state university, studying health care management. the school's president wrote: "we will remember and treasure her for her warmth, optimism, energy and kindness." brennan stewart rarely missed a chance to hear country music live, his family said. the 30-year-old from las vegas played guitar and wrote songs. when the shooting began, he used his body to protect his girlfriend. rocio guillen was a mother of four, including a two-month-old, and a general manager at a pizza restaurant in california. "she was a supermom," her cousin said. "always working hard and
juggling everything to be the best mom." >> woodruff: there is new information today about russia obtaining highly classified information about how the u.s. military protects it's computer networks and conducts electronic spying. hari sreenivasan has that story. >> sreenivasan: the wall street journal reports on a web of breaches. first, classified material was stolen from the national security agency by a contractor. his computer was then hacked and russia took the sensitive data. the article does not say who the contractor was but that he used kaspersky lab antivirus software which is believed to be compromised by russian intelligence. for more on all of this we turn to shane harris, who broke the story, covering national
security and intelligence issues for the "wall street journal." shane, what do we know that was compromised, what dot russians have. >> we are told this is information that describes or deals with offensive and defensive computer network operations at nsa. so basically the tools and techniques, the codes of the nsa were used to hack into foreign computer systems and the tools and techniques they used to protect computer systems inside the united states. this is very critical information that goes to what intelligence agencies call sources and methods and the kind of thing that is most jealously guarded inside the nsa and extremely classified. >> sreenivasan: and the kaspersky lab soft wear was not at his desktop at the nsa but apt his home. >> what happened was the contractor removed this classified information unthoshzed from his workplace and took it home, we are told to work on it there is what authorities believed and loaded it on to a personal computer. and that computer was running the kaspersky antivirus product.
this is a commercially available antivirus product, probably many watching this tonight may have it on their own home computers. what authorities believe is that that system was then used to alert hackers in russia to the files that were on his machine, which were then removed from it by russia. >> sreenivasan: so the software that is scanning his computer, looking for sensitive files sends a message to russia saying here is a sensitive file and since they have some sort of a back door, they can access it? >> there is a sequence here we're still not entirely sure but essentially, yes, this is the idea. that it alerts people back in russia who are then able to take advantage knowing what they know from the software to then hone in on this individual's computer and obtain this information. it is important to say that kaspersky says they do not provide any kind of access, that is unauthorized or illegal, and they do not participate in computer operations of this nature, cyberspying on behalf of governments. so there still is some question about the sequence of events. but officials have concluded
that if not for this kaspersky product they do not believe this information would have been obtained. >> sreenivasan: just a couple of weeks ago we had members of the intelligence committee, members of intelligence community sitting in front of the senate panel and when they were asked whether or not they would put this kind of software on their own computers they unanimously said no. it looks like the government's already taking steps to try to make sure that this software is not available to government agencies, right? >> that's right. in fact, last month the homeland security department issued a directive prohinting all federal departments and agencies in the u.s. government from either buying these products and services from kaspersky or using them. prewere told to get rid of them if they were using them. that is an extraordinary mesh or for the government to take. this is a product that is sold in america it has been sold, in big box stores, so that really underscored the extent to which officials were told, believed that this tool as being used to conduct espionage inside the united states. >> sreenivasan: let's talk about the time line. when did this hack happen, i
mean, given the context of all that we're investigating about russia and the influence on the election. >> what we know so far is that the incident itself occurred in 2015. but it was not discovered until the spring of 2016. so this would be before the election campaign really kicked off in earnest but what is interesting about that spring 2016 period is that is when intelligence agencies now say this they were starting to detect the first signs of russia beginning to interfere in the u.s. elections. now we don't know that there is a direct line between what was going on with this contractor and that activity but it does appear that there may have to some degree been coincident and the activity against the contractor may have even preceded the russian interference in the elections an certainly preceded the period before which the u.s. government really became more alert to that. >> sreenivasan: all right, shane harris of the "the wall street journal," thank you very much. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: three u.s. special forces soldiers were killed and two more injured yesterday while on a training mission with the military of niger. the soldiers were green berets, reportedly caught in an ambush near the village of tongo tongo, not far from the malian border. al qaeda and islamic state militants are active in the area. u.s. and french commandos have been training and in some cases fighting alongside local forces around the region. joining me for more on the fight against islamic militants in this part of africa, is peter pham. he's the director of the atlantic council's africa program. peter, welcome back to the program. we were just talking about this is the first set of u.s. casualties in this region. tell us about the mission there. what are the u.s. troops and their allies doing? >> well, we have for several years now had numbers, low,
several hundred u.s. personnel in niger doing two things primarily, one operating a drone base in the capital of niger and building another drone base in the center of the country which will be able to reach surveillance into mali and southern libya. and the other mission has been training the nigerian forces to stand up and fight these militants, as you mentioned from both al-qaeda linked groups and islamic state linked groups that have been crossing in this region and increasingly carrying out violent attacks. >> woodruff: so they are there because-- who is the enemy there? >> well, various islamic extremists, roughly in two broad coalitions, one announced yus this past march that is calling itself the group for the support of islam and muslims, gsim, in the region which is made up of al-qaeda linked groups including
those linked with ethnic torag, ethnic polla polani and former members of-- and members of al-qaeda and islamic magreb sa harrah battalion. and on the other side we have this group calling itself islamic state greater sa harrah which was approved last year by the so called khalifah islamic state. >> woodruff: you were telling me the more active these groups have become, islamic groups have become, there has been more competition. >> there has been. each seeking to be the more lethal, the more dangerous, the one to join to attract both recruits and resources. and in fact the leadership of both groups, al-qaeda and the islamic state have withheld approval of the local affiliates until they have shown themselves, for example the islamic state affiliates were not approved until after the attacks last year, for example. >> woodruff: so specifically
what are the u.s. troops, we were talking french troops there as well what are they doing? they are training but they are doing more than that. >> the primary mission is training. the nigerian troops in niger and the french have a large training and antiterrorism mission across the region, very active in mali as well, and so it's a training mission but also providing isr intelligence, surveillance an reconaissance to the allied governments in the region as well. but primarily it's training. when are you out training with these allies, there are occasions where you enter into kin etic operations with them but that is the no the primary focus. >> woodruff: and we see now what happens when they do get out there. we know there is a drone base in that area which is i think what you are referring to. >> there is a drone base in the capital of niger an one almost complete in the center of the country. but in the training they've built up, for example, a nigerian unit, the bsr, the security and intelligence
battalion which has become very factive, this is the unit we understand was out there with the special operations forces that were attacked. >> woodruff: is this viewed as a successful mission and is it believed that there will be more u.s. troops going there? >> well, it's been successful as far as we have stood up local partners who are now beginning to take the fight out. that's the success. but this is something that the international community has to invest in building up the capacity of the country's in the region. the united nations general assembly, secretary general geut area easy convened a meeting of the presidents of the region and other international partners for ways to better integrate. the area where this attack took place tonga tonga actually was perhaps the cyberattack because stt tri border rego of mali and niger and the militants use these borders moving easily to stay one step ahead of forces pursuing them. >> woodruff: one time when it certainly ended in tragedy for
the u.s. forces and others. peter pham, we thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: congress' full plate-- daca, the budget and children's health insurance. and our "america addicted" series continues. we look at how the opioid crisis has cut into the nation's workforce. but first, the battle to retake syria's northern city of raqqa from the islamic state is inching closer to an end. isis seized control back in 2014, declaring it the capital of their caliphate. john irvine of independent television news has spent several days on the frontline with the liberating forces, and filed this report.
>> reporter: it is the most intense american bombing campaign since vietnam. nowhere in afghanistan or iraq has ever been subjected to the sustained bombardment being inflicted on raqqa-- the syrian city i.s. call their capital. the worlds most advanced air force is doing this to help one of the worlds most poorly equipped armies, the y.p.g. with no tanks or heavy weapons of their own, this pro-western militia must rely on warplanes, on ak-47's and on a thirst for revenge. getting to the city center necessitated a hectic drive through streets of rubble. our driver okab said speed was
the best defense against rocket propelled grenades. he handled his humvee with the skill of a rally driver. okab lost two brothers to the islamic state. one shot, one beheaded. the commander we meet is nicknamed "earthquake." for three weeks, his unit has laid siege to this place: raqqa hospital where i.s. have made their last stand. capturing it is difficult because i.s. have trapped civilians inside so direct airstrikes are not possible. at this, there most forward position the y.p.g. are near neighbors with the enemy. we've come for a better view but visibility is a two-way street and we are spotted. ( gunfire )
earlier, the men, all arabs, talked about two things they share. belonging to same tribe and losing love one to islamic state. "earthquake" was at university studying to be a human rights lawyer when he enlisted to restore human rights to victims of i.s. his demonstration with a meat cleaver was to explain how a friends fingers were cut off by i.s. when they caught him smoking. downstairs, "earthquake" told us about the entrance to a tunnel dug by islamic state and now covered over with furniture and
debris because two days after he took this building, i.s. emerged from the tunnel to mount a counter-attack. this man is wielding a sword taking from a dead is fighter. the balaclava is to protect his identity which not even his comrades know because often he crosses the front line to pose as an islamic state fighter and collect intelligence. this is a y.p.g. spying operation inside raqqa last year. the bulb inside a motor bike headlight has been replaced by a camera. this an i.s. checkpoint. here, i.s. fighters leave a mosque. the streets are largely deserted, however, because people want to avoid the man questioning the motorist. they are the religious police, they spread terror inside raqqa while others plan to inflict
terror abroad. for four years, raqqa has cast a long shadow stretching out over places like london, manchester, brussels and nice. it's hard not to think of all the innocent victims of i.s. the victims of the hatred and murderous instructions that emanated from right here. an hours drive outside the city, these are the latest residents of raqqa to escape and join many others already at the refugee camp. but at least they are safe. as winter approaches, the biggest battle they will face is with the elements. as for civilians deaths inside raqqa, the coalition says it does all it can to avoid them and that when they do happen, it's the fault of the islamic state for using human shields.
>> woodruff: next, we turn our focus back to congress and the whirlwind of issues facing lawmakers. here is john yang. >> yang: thanks, judy. looming deadlines, lapsed programs and potential movement on pressing agenda items. here to explain what's happening on the hill is our own lisa desjardins. lisa, let's begin our all ga-- alphabet soup with dhaka deferred action for childhood arrivals, today was the deadline for those that status would expire before the march 5th sunset to reapply, to renew, what is going on with the hill effort to try to put this into law? >> right, this is a lot to keap track of. first an update on how many applications have come in. now anyone under daca has until midnight tonight local time to get their paperwork in to one of
three centers. and i'm told by citizenship and immigration stfers that some 36,000 people who are eligible have yet to reapply. so they've got a few hours to do that as of now. now as for congress, they're actually is some movement, believe it or not on this issue. there was a hearing yesterday in the senate in which notably two leaders from both parties, democrat dik durbin of illinois and john cornyn of texas seemed to indicate there is room for agreement. >> creating a legislative fix is the right thing to do. but there is a big caveat, before we provide legal stat us to these young people, we must reassure and actually regain the public confidence that we're serious when it comes to enforcing the law and securing our borders. senator cornyn, i con agree with you more. if we can sit down, come up with a reasonable list of border security provisions that will give us peace of mind of assurance that we are doing our
level best to stop those who shouldn't be coming to the united states from coming here, i will join you in that effort. >> how go that, couldn't agree with you more. they are talking about a limited bill that with give status to so called dreamers or daca recipients and have some security elements. john, today in the house we heard similar from also the number two republican and democrat in that chamber as well. >> security-- but not the wall. >> but not the wall, that is what came from, we heard that from senator grassley, there may be more discussion on, that we'll see. >> now continuing on, chp-- chip, the chin's health insurance program funding ran out, administered by the states with federal funding. the federal funding ran out at the last of the last budget year, at the end of september. what is going on to try to get that going again. >> chip is a major program trk did run out of federal funding september 30th, something that congress was well aware of. this is a big deal because it provides health care for nine
million american children. each state is affected differently because the states have a different set of rules. but john, ten states say they will completely run out of funds for this by the end of the year. where are we am congress? well, there was some hope last week as the senate was able to pass a deal through committee, or sorry, they passed a deal this week through committee, almost unanimously. that was a big sign of positivity on this issue. but then yesterday in the house, a different approach. house republicans instead went with a partisan view that democrats don't like and would have trofl in the senate, so to be honest, john, it's not leer what will happen to this program, everyone would like to renew the funding but there are real issues still on the table. >> do you think it would the no be renewed or it would have to wait until the big budget spending bill at the end of the year. >> i think that is right. everyone wants to renew it, it could just be a short terme newal if they can't agree on a long-term fix. but right now with the way congress is, it is very hard to say.
>> so the budget resolution started moving today. the house passed its version. the senate budget committee sent its version to the floor. this is something that is supposed to happen every year but why is it particularly important this year? >> i want to stress to people, the word budget sounds boring. you don't want to pay attention to it. but it sin credibly important thisser yoo, as you said, the house passed its version today. and the reason it's critical, john s both chambers must pass a budget this year in order to allow republicans to pass tax reform. they want to change our entire tax code to do it, they first have to pass budgets which allow them to get to that special 50 vote rule in the senate. and another thing that is really important to watch here, john, is the way they want to do it. republicans want spending cuts and in fact, they also have inluded in one version of the budget a medicare overhaul. so it is really important to watch what they do here with the money. there could also be some deficit spending in tax reform. all of that comes to a head inside the budget. so every little dollar that they put in this outline that is the budget could matter.
>> the house calls for deficit new tral, the senate is calling for what, 1.5 trillion deficit spending for the tax cut s that right? >> exactly right. the house budget goes after things like t would change medicare overall, reform medicare in a way that many in the senate don't necessarily think would pass there. but the senate on the other hand would add over a trillion dollars potentially to the deficit. and that's something that the house doesn't like. so this leads through conflict ahead but right now each chamber is taking its own route on the budget. >> less than 30 seconds. what are the chances of this happening by the end of the year? >> not good that all of it happens by the end of the year. i think the date to watch is december 8th when the next spending bill runs out. many of my sources say they think a lot of this could let lurched into one giant bill or debate around that time. >> lisa desjardins, thanks a lot. >> sure thing.
>> woodruff: throughout this week, we've been focusing on the national opioids problem in a special series called "america addicted." and we've been trying to show the many ways this addiction is damaging society. tonight, we have a report on how it's affecting the workforce and changing employers' plans. economics correspondent paul solman has the story as part of his weekly reporting, making sense. >> i would wake up in the morning and take four pills and snort two. that's just to get out of bed. >> reporter: michael oates, a lifelong welder, is recovering from a 10-year opioid addiction which began when he took vicodin for pain while working at a steel mill. did you lose the job? >> actually, my job went to china. that was my excuse to do even more pills. >> reporter: have you worked since? >> i've had four or five different jobs since then. >> reporter: what happened to those jobs?
>> i lost them all due to being addicted to opiates. they would random drug test me, and i'd be like, "well, see you later." i'd walk out. i even got caught one time with synthetic urine in my underwear, because i got pretty slick at using that. >> reporter: you'd stash it in your underpants? >> i would stash it in my underwear, and i'd go in and it's synthetic urine. it's got everything in it that you need to make them think it's your urine. >> reporter: out of work for three years now, oates is just one example of how the opioid crisis has decimated the american workforce. business owner clyde mcclellan has seen plenty of others. >> we have people that come in on a regular basis looking for employment that are obviously under the influence when they come in. >> reporter: really? >> oh yeah. they look like they're the walking dead. i say, "we're going to send you for a drug test, and what is the drug test going to show us? most of the time if it's pot or booze or anything like that,
they tell me. if it's something other than that, they don't come back. >> reporter: mclellan owns american mug and stein in east liverpool ohio, once known as" the pottery capital of the world" with dozens of firms. foreign competition has since wiped out all but two of them. mclellan owes his survival to his top customer, starbucks. you'd think would-be workers in town might be flocking here. but they're flocking to drug dealers instead. >> one day i was looking out of my office in 2015, and there was two policemen standing in my driveway with rifles. i went out, i knew one of them, and i said, "what's going on?" he said, "well, we're raiding this house that's next to your building for heroin distribution." >> reporter: and these indelible photos of a couple overdosed in their car with their son in the back seat were snapped just three blocks from here. you don't need experience to get
a job at american mug and stein, but you do need to be clean. half of applicants are not. >> i've been an employer in this area since 1983. drugs were not at the forefront when you were talking to somebody about possible employment. now, the first thing we think of is, "are they on drugs? how do we find out? what kind of references?" >> reporter: somebody came in here looking for a job with a reference from one of your other employees? >> he was using this person as a reference, and when we asked the employee, he said "he's a dope head. he steals money. he has stolen money from me." obviously we didn't bring him in. >> reporter: donna deebo has been there. a full-time waitress, she was prescribed opioids after a car accident. in time, scoring heroin became her main line of work. >> it is like a job itself, actually. it is. >> reporter: just trying to find that day's drugs?
>> yes. then, once that day is over, your mind's already going 1,000 times a minute thinking, "what am i going to do for the next day?" >> reporter: how long have you been out of the workforce? >> i've been out of work for about seven years. >> reporter: the prime skill she honed: shoplifting. >> i would go into all the stores. my trunk and my backseat would be full with everything. sears, i'm no longer allowed on their property. i stole so much from them, i probably own their store. >> reporter: and then there was her daughter's new cell phone. >> we had some people over, and all of a sudden, it just came up missing. i made it look like it came up missing. i am the one, actually, in fact, that did it. >> reporter: you stole it from your daughter and sold it? >> absolutely. >> reporter: scott schwind was a well-paid machinist when his addiction took charge. >> i was just working to supply myself. i would have people come to my work, deliver stuff to me at work. >> reporter: at the machinist shop? >> yeah. i was on third shift, so they would come at night and bring me stuff, but that's how i messed
the job up is i wouldn't show up, or i was doing shady stuff, like having people come there. i'd be in the bathroom for half an hour. so i lost that job, and then i've had other jobs, but i've never been able to keep a job for long, because of the addiction. >> reporter: how long have you been out of work now? >> since 2011. >> reporter: schwind, oates and deebo are now sober and enrolled at flying high, a nonprofit program in youngstown, ohio to get those out of the workforce back in. it teaches hard skills like welding and machining. an urban garden is for soft skills: showing up on time; teamwork. jeff magada says job training is critical to places like youngstown, its population down more than 60% since its steel furnaces last ran full blast. >> you don't have a lot of industry coming here because they know there's not a lot of skilled workers here, and then workers who can also pass a drug screen. >> reporter: that's a problem for michael sherwin's company.
>> we've had positions open for a year and a half to two years. >> reporter: sherwin's columbiana boiler company has lots of demand for galvanized containers but figures he's foregone some $200,000 in business because he can't find skilled, drug-free welders. >> we probably lose 20-25%. >> reporter: because they can't pass a drug test? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: flying high places ex-addicts in shops like this and pays their salary for six months. but the threat of relapse is always there. that's why scott schwind is taking it slow. >> i just want to get a foundation of being sober and dealing with things before i jump into a job and all that stress and having a bunch of money in my pocket to where i'm not tempted to do something that i'm going to regret. the drugs out there today will kill you. >> reporter: why would you be tempted if you had money in your pocket?
>> you forget how to deal with problems. it was a coping mechanism. something went wrong, you're like, "i'm just going to get high," and then you don't have to worry about it. i had a house, i had a car, i had all my stuff taken care of. i was a good father, and everything's gone. and it takes a lot of work to get back to where you were. it's easy to throw your hands up and be like, "you know what? screw it." >> reporter: you could imagine having money in your pocket and going back to drugs? >> absolutely. it takes two seconds for us to get a thought in our head, and we act on it. >> reporter: so technical instructors like ivan lipscomb wear two hats. >> not only are we welding instructors, but we're life coaches also. so we can try to talk to them about that also maybe throw in a little joking every once in awhile. just to keep their spirits up. >> reporter: magada says those who complete this program pose much less risk than those who don't. >> we're not just going to let them go. we're going to monitor them over the next six months, while they
have money in their pocket, and be working with them on those life skills. >> reporter: life skills absent in those whom opioids have overtaken, says michael sherwin. >> 10 years ago the drug screen would not have been an issue. >> reporter: at all? >> no. >> reporter: now you're losing 25% of-- >> of eligible candidates to it. so for us it's a big deal. >> reporter: a big deal for the broader economy as well, says princeton economist alan krueger. he's found a direct link between opioid use and out-of-the- workforce americans. >> for both prime-age men and prime-age women, the increase in prescriptions over the last 15 years can account for perhaps 20% of the drop in labor force participation that we've seen. >> reporter: the rate has been falling for years as the population ages, says krueger. but opioids are increasingly the story as the participation rate has hit historic lows. >> we've had a change in medical practices which has caused the
medical profession to prescribe 3.5 times more opioid medication today than was the case 15 years ago. i think that's made it harder for some people to keep their jobs and has led them to leave the labor force. >> reporter: clyde mcclellan has seen it happening in east liverpool. >> when you drive around town, you see too many young and middle aged people just out during the middle of the day when normally they'd be at work. if they're out on the streets, many times they're not looking for work. they're just out there looking for their next fix. >> reporter: donna deebo is on the lookout no longer. instead, she's reinventing herself as a welder; scott schwind, updating his machining skills. michael oates hopes to get back to work welding, and to rebuild the links shattered by his addiction. >> it tore my family completely apart. it was stronger than eating, it was stronger than paying bills. it was stronger than going to my kids' football games.
i went from spoiling my kids to barely doing anything for my kids. >> reporter: will they talk to you? >> my youngest doesn't talk to me. that breaks my heart. my youngest son, he barely ever talks to me. they went without a lot of things over my selfishness, over me wanting to be high every day and not wanting to be sick. >> reporter: they're still resentful. >> and they're still resentful. yeah. if it takes me the rest of my life, i will make amends. >> reporter: here's hoping he can return to his family, and to the workforce. for the pbs newshour, this is economics correspondent paul solman, reporting from northeastern ohio. >> woodruff: now to another in our brief but spectacular episodes, where we ask people to describe their passions. tonight, as part of our america addicted series, we hear from several individuals working on the front lines of the opioid
crisis. these takes on addiction and recovery come from the hazelden betty ford foundation in center city, minnesota. >> opiates; my drug of choice was opiates. >> barbiturates, quaaludes, downers, and then heroin, finally. >> i actually lost my mother to an opioid overdose, this was two years ago she was 59 years old and most important person in my life. >> i don't have a personal story, per se. residency. and, and i think the humanistic spirit of addiction is what really turned me to it. >> began self-medicating with prescriptions that were left over in my own medicine cabinet. when those were-- were gone, i began to do, and divert medications from my place of employment as a nurse. >> i was coming off of an amphetamine binge and what would happen is that i would become very tired. so i lied down on the couch with my little boy who was less than three yet then, while i was asleep, i started coughing. and when i coughed, it woke me up a bit. the house was filled with smoke,
and the house was on fire. and in my mind i said, "thank god it's finally over." then, my son coughed. and i s-- heard in my mind or in my-- wherever it came from, the voice says-- said "you can do what you want with your life; you have no right to take his." >> the first time i used chemicals, it felt like the universe slipped into place. >> at its best, addiction was a comfort, it was a friend actually. addiction at its worst was a monkey on my back. >> it's such a bad feeling physically and psychologically? and-- and the only way really to effectively stop it at the time was to use again and again. >> it's totally illogical. i did not want to get high, i didn't want to use, i didn't want to drink, it was ruining my life.
>> my parents when they'd see me high or using they'd think i was okay. they get worried about me when they see me in withdrawal because that's when i look bad. >> we make a lot of mistakes about the opioid crisis. first of all, partly because of the stigma. whenever it comes to addiction, especially to opioids, we talk about drugs, and we don't talk about people. >> people are afraid to ask for help. families don't want to talk about it. >> like standing here now talking about it, i'm-- i'm a bit uncomfortable because i am not sure how people react to it >> i was in my undergraduate program in college, and i needed to go to treatment, and i told someone about it who is in a position of power. they looked it as a, i think as a character issue, i would love for my kids to know that if they're struggling with mental health or addiction, it's not that there's something wrong with their character. it's that they may have this illness. >> it's been around forever. and there have been communities
devastated by addiction, even opioid or heroin addiction, long before it became national news. when why kids in the suburbs started to die off is when the country started to pay attention. and there's a shame in that. >> part of my mission in life and my mission at work is to expose the public to the other side of the story, the recovery side of the story. >> i owe people out there who don't know about recovery and don't know that recovery is possible, that i owe to them to, to let them know that it is. >> if i could talk to my mother today, and i guess i do in my quiet moments, i'd really want her to know that my recovery is because of her. >> i have a four and two-year old. i have a wife, i have a job that i love, and i'm happy for really >> i'm married now, i have two kids, i'm-- i'm-- i'm in center city, minnesota, and i have to stop and remind myself of that sometimes. i'm from cairo, and if you had told me, you know, 15 years ago, you'll be standing in a basement
in richmond walker in center city, minnesota talking to people from pbs, you know, i'd be like, "okay >> my name is jeremiah gardner. >> my name is cecilia jayme. >> my name is ahmed eid. >> my name is carrie kappel. >> my name is dan frigo. >> my name is jordan hansen. >> my name is dr. joseph lee and this is my brief but spectacular take... this is my brief but spectacular take... on addiction and recovery. >> woodruff: you can watch additional brief but spectacular episodes on our website, pbs.org/newshour/brief. there's more from our series "america addicted" online. the medication suboxone plays a major role for many users recovering from opioid addiction, easing the effects of withdrawal. but its use has divided the recovery community. read how on at our website, pbs.org/newshour.
a news update before we go, this evening president trump said that iran has not lived up to the spirit of the nuclear deal with the u.s. and that the public will be hearing more about that very shortly. mr. trump briefly took questions from reporters while meeting with military leaders at the white house. he also told the group in front of cameras that he wants military options when needed at a much faster pace. tune in later tonight on charlie rose: former cbs anchor bob schieffer on the challenges combatting fake news in the 24-hour news cycle. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
sheila: we've never ever known how to make pastrami. man: we have all of our ingredients here. chef, thank you so much. sheila, voice-over: working that grinder was very hard. marilynn: you needed big guns. well, i felt his big guns, and, believe me... you would. you would. they were big. knowing you, you would. ramen is a japanese comfort food that's become very popular. bruce: i want to take you for your first slurp of ramen. slurp? slurp! slurp! slurp! slurp! slurp! slurp! ohh! ha ha! marilynn: euphoria, noodle euphoria. i love thinking about the blending of cultures in america. thank you for coming and for your lessons in culture and tradition and food. [rhythmic clapping] oh, the girls got the idea. we love to flirt, but we're harmless. marilynn: we're the brass sisters.