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Beyond the Border: The Opioid Pipeline

Céline McArthur and Freddy Wheeler

Commanding attention and inspiring action through news stories that educate, engage, entertain, and drive change.  It’s a rare find in today’s media because uncovering and producing the real stories behind the headlines requires personal and professional investment and total commitment to journalism. That includes going places the competition can’t, asking questions others won’t, and exposing the reporting process to build trust.

The drug crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing the people of New England, the nation and the world. Too few people understand why it’s happening, who it’s impacting and what needs to be done to tackle the problem. New Hampshire’s only television news investigations team—Celine McArthur and Freddy Wheeler—was the first to cover the crisis in New Hampshire before it gained national political attention during the presidential campaigns in the First-in-the-Nation primary state, and hasn’t stopped since.

In Beyond the Border: The Opioid Pipeline, we go where no other news crews have gone before to bring you the real story. We take you to the front lines of the drug war with specialized narcotics units from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. This half-hour report will give you a greater understanding of how one of the world’s most powerful industries is fueling addiction and making a killing in New England.

More from Céline McArthur and Freddy Wheeler…

Addiction Front Lines: Children of the Crisis  For nearly two years, we’ve been on the front lines of the drug crisis to show you how police and policy makers are trying to combat the drug problem. What you haven’t seen is the impact the crisis is having on the young people in the community—young people using, young people exposed to people using, young people dealing and young people dying. It’s the ugly truth first responders—from Manchester PD’s Street Crime unit and American Medical Response—deal with every day. We also focus on a family pleading for justice, after a loved one dies of a fentanyl overdose. The police case is closed, but they say the crisis will continue to escalate until the drug dealers–the big and small-timers—are behind bars. These are candid, eye-opening interviews you won’t see anywhere else.

Addiction Front Lines: Taking Back New Hampshire  The drug crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing the people of NH. Too few people understand why it’s happening, who it’s impacting and what needs to be done to tackle the problem. We were the 1st to cover the crisis before it gained presidential political attention during the First-in-the-Nation primaries.

For months, we rode with EMTs to see how they’re handling the record number of 911 calls that require live-saving Narcan. We interviewed children of the crisis—homeless on the streets—to show you how they’re getting hooked on prescriptions, heroin and the far more deadly fentanyl.

We hit the streets with specialized local and state law enforcement teams to show you how they’re targeting low-level dealers and runners fueling the addiction and making a killing in New Hampshire.

Nearly two years later, the crisis is getting even worse. Federal law enforcement is pushing for increased penalties for drug dealers who deal in death. But those cases aren’t easy to make.

Protecting the Northern Border  Securing the borders to prevent drugs, illegals and terrorists from flowing into the US is one of the biggest challenges facing the United States today. You know it’s a topic that has dominated the presidential race. However, the focus has been mostly on the Southern border and a debate about building a wall. We wanted to find out what’s being done to protect our Northern border. That job belongs to US Customs and Border Protection. There are three uniformed components—Air and Marine, Border Patrol and Field Operations. We’re focusing on these operations in what’s called the Swanton Sector. This sector covers parts of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire’s borders with Canada. 295 miles of border length—92 of them are water. And this entire area is covered by just 300 agents. We had less than two work shifts to find out story. We had less than two days to find out how they cover all that ground—on land, at sea and up in the air.

Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success  Building a successful business is often a lifelong pursuit and can be extremely challenging. When they succeed—and there are thousands of these “Made in New Hampshire” stories—they can have a huge economic impact. Each week, we profile local entrepreneurs—from rock stars to restaurant owners—and ask them to share their Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success. Their stories educate, engage and entertain. Viewers who want to become entrepreneurs gain valuable advice and inspiration. Those who don’t, learn more about the businesses in their communities. As you’ll see, not all of the shoots were planned ahead, but we never passed up an opportunity to interview the best in the business. That meant quickly coming up with ways to produce great television with whatever we had in pocket or purse—including GoPros and cell phone cameras. The series was voted “Best of New Hampshire 2016” by New Hampshire Magazine.

Behind the Badge  Improving relations between police & the public is a critical community issue across the US. The solution begins with increased awareness—understanding who’s wearing the uniform, why they choose to carry a badge and gun, and what they do to fulfill their oaths to protect & serve. In NH, when people think of state police, the image of troopers in cruisers running radar usually comes to mind. Traffic enforcement is a huge part of what they do, but it’s not everything. Chief Investigative Reporter Celine McArthur & Chief Photographer Freddy Wheeler spent 3 months—mostly off the clock—with road troopers & those in specialized units to show you what they do. This project was too important to invest any less time, energy and resources.

Apart from graphics and a studio director, Céline McArthur and Freddy Wheeler were the ONLY ones involved. That’s a first in the Boston market.

Active Shooter Training  Cop killings and mass shootings are driving potentially life-saving conversations about how to handle and survive active shooter situations. NH1’s Chief Investigative Reporter Celine McArthur and Chief Photographer Freddy Wheeler have exclusive access to a special training event in a middle school in Manchester, NH for law enforcement from across the state. Our approach to telling the story—including the strategic use of multiple go pro cameras—to give you a more realistic, front lines perspective of what law enforcement faces in these violent situations.

Always on the front lines! Ask us how we flanked former Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders at New Hampshire’s State Capitol. There were news outlets from across the globe and thousands of people at the rally we’re facing in this picture.

The stories you’ll see here are produced by News Anchor & Chief Investigative Reporter Céline McArthur and Chief Photographer Freddy Wheeler for WBIN-TV, NH1 News, Boston DMA #8.

Céline McArthur’s Résumé & Freddy Wheeler’s Résumé