Jed Lipinski covers public health and criminal justice for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times and has written for Politico, Slate, Salon, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. His writing has won awards from the Associated Press and the New Orleans Press Club. In 2016, he was awarded a fellowship by the National Press Foundation for his coverage of the opioid epidemic in Louisiana.
Project description: Justice for Danny: How a small town pharmacist caught his son’s killer – and then took down the most notorious pill mill doctor in New Orleans history: In 1999, at the dawn of the opioid epidemic, St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana had one of the highest rates of drug overdose in the United States. Authorities attributed dozens to a single pain clinic in New Orleans. Horrified by the death toll in their community, dozens of residents and members of local enforcement, led by a local pharmacist whose son was killed in drug-related incident, banded together to shut the clinic down. The project shows how in the process, the group set an investigative precedent and paved the way for legislation that may have saved hundreds of lives in Louisiana. The community’s early exposure to opioid deaths, and its proactive response, left residents with a grassroots support structure and a sense of resilience.
In his own words: “When I read ivoh’s description of Restorative Narrative, I immediately realized that I’ve spent my journalism career admiring and trying to write them. In fact, the allure of restorative narratives is what drew me to New Orleans in 2013—in a city that has endured multiple natural and man-made disasters over the last ten years, I suspected I would find people persevering and even thriving in the worst of circumstances. Telling their stories has strengthened my faith in human beings’ ability to grow stronger through adversity.”