Scars of the Opioid Epidemic

PhotographerJulia Rendleman
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

1. A woman who became addicted to opioids after the birth of her daughter no longer has custody of her. 2. A child whose parents are addicted to opioids visits a friend while her mother finds drugs. 3. A man who has used needles to inject cocaine and heroin for 35 years has permanent scars. 4. A grandmother holds her grandson who is living with a foster family while his parents deal with addiction and incarceration. 5. A girl buries her dog two days after her mother's partner over-dosed and she wonders if God is punishing her for not crying over his death.


The American opioid epidemic is claiming more lives year after year. It is the number one killer of Americans under 50. Survivors and the people who love them bear an untold number of physical and emotional scars. From a mother who is clean but has lost custody of her daughter to children born addicted, to burying loved ones, the epidemic has put a mark on American culture. Family dynamics and the way children are being raised in many communities is shifting.