Garrett Brown hugs his mother, Traci, before entering the Augusta courthouse June 30, 2015.

Garrett Brown decided to open up his life to us and the public, not just by doing interviews but by allowing us to film him at various points over two-and-a-half years. We didn’t know where the story would go when we started, but it ultimately became clear it was about addiction. Garrett’s life illuminates the human toll of a heroin addiction left untreated. You can see our full multimedia project here.

We started filming Garrett beginning at age 18 at Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston, in the summer of 2013, and learned more over time from him, his mother, aunt, girlfriend and best friend. They described Garrett as a young man who knew he needed help but didn’t get it, who committed burglaries but would help someone in need, and who predicted his own death but kept working with us because he hoped telling his story would stop someone else from overdosing and dying.

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Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is the editor of Maine Focus, a team that conducts journalism investigations and projects at the Bangor Daily News. She also writes for the newspaper, often centering her work on domestic and...