Pulitzer winner examines nation’s opioid addiction...

Pulitzer winner examines nation’s opioid addiction crisis at MTSU talk

Pulitzer Prize-winning West Virginia journalist Eric Eyre will explain how he tracked drug wholesalers’ efforts to flood his state with prescription pain relievers during a free public event set Thursday, Sept. 28, at MTSU.

Fall17 Pulitzer series opioid poster webEyre will discuss his efforts to expose the influx of opioids into his state in “The Opioid Crisis: Follow the Pills” at 11:20 a.m. Sept. 28 in the Parliamentary Room, Room 201, of MTSU’s Student Union.

A campus parking map is available at Off-campus visitors attending the lecture can obtain a special one-day permit at

The free public event is part of the Pulitzer Prize Series sponsored by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies and the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU.

Eyre also will discuss his stories Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University, 1207 18th Ave. S. in Nashville. Organizers of that event are encouraging visitors to RSVP at because space is limited.

Eric Eyre

The longtime journalist and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail won the top prize for investigative reporting in April “for courageous reporting, performed in the face of powerful opposition, to expose the flood of opioids flowing into depressed West Virginia counties with the highest overdose death rates in the country,” the Pulitzer committee wrote.

Attorneys general in more than two dozen states, counties and cities across the United States, including three judicial districts in upper East Tennessee, have sued drug providers since last year for their roles in the opioid epidemics in their regions.

They allege that manufacturers and distributors drove large, frequent shipments of hydrocodone and oxycodone into their areas, pushing physicians to overprescribe the drugs and funneling them into underground markets.

attorney Patrick McGinley

Patrick McGinley

Eyre’s stories, which were published in December, were among the first to bring the issue to public attention, revealing shipping and other records the newspaper obtained by going to court.

Attorney Patrick McGinley, who worked pro bono with the newspaper on the stories, will join Eyre at both the MTSU and Nashville events to discuss how they obtained the data needed for the stories.

You can read Eyre’s stories at the Gazette-Mail’s website:

MTSU established the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies in 1986 to honor the iconic journalist’s lifelong commitment to free expression. The Seigenthaler Chair supports a variety of activities related to topics of concern for contemporary journalism, including distinguished visiting professors and visiting lecturers at MTSU, research, seminars, and hands-on training for student journalists.

You can learn more about MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at

— Gina E. Fann (