Peter Haden

Peter Haden joined WJCT in 2014 as an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.

He holds a Master of Mass Communication degree from Arizona State University's Cronkite School and bachelor's degrees in Geography and International Studies from the University of Iowa.

After growing up on an Iowa sheep farm, Peter has lived and worked in Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, Washington D.C., Georgia, Arizona and Florida.

His current mission is to tell the greatest stories on earth - in three minutes and thirty seconds.

An internet black market used by some Floridians to buy and sell heroin and fentanyl has been shut down in an international law enforcement operation.

Florida is enacting tough new penalties on dealers of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Delray Beach city officials have been hearing complaints from residents for years: sober homes are crowding us out.

The sober living facilities are intended to integrate recovering drug and alcohol users back into community life. But a lack of oversight coupled with widespread corruption has led to a proliferation of sober homes in some neighborhoods. A recent report estimated there are 247 sober homes operating in the city.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

Accidental opioid overdoses by first responders are an alarming phenomenon.

Ty Hernandez was mending a broken heart when he felt a cold coming on.

His mom, Peggy, did the mom thing.

“You’ve got to rest and drink fluids.” she said. “The next morning, I left a note on the counter with some chicken noodle soup and said, ‘I hope you feel better. Call me if you need anything.’ And I went to work.”

Peter Haden/WLRN

The overdose call comes in to Delray Beach Fire Rescue around 7:30 p.m. on a Friday.

Firefighter-paramedics — they’re trained to do both — jump into action and rush to a nearby hotel. But before they can treat this victim, another call comes in.

Regina McNish knows her grandma – Lauderhill resident Dorrisile Dervis – by another name.

“Gran Dor,” said McNish. “‘Gran’ is ‘grandma’ in Creole. And ‘Dor’ is the first three letters of her name: Dorrisile.”

And Gran Dor is grand indeed. Born on Christmas Day in 1901, Gran Dor is 115 years old. That makes her the oldest living person in the United States.

Maybe.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office (Facebook)

Law enforcement officials are warning of a deadly new drug hitting South Florida streets called “grey death.”

A South Florida drug treatment provider will spend the next 27.5 years behind bars for operating a multimillion-dollar health care fraud and sex trafficking scheme.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks handed down the sentence Wednesday at the Federal Courthouse in West Palm Beach. Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, 47, of Boynton Beach, pleaded guilty in March to the charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafaña said Chatman was a relatively small provider in the drug treatment industry, but he was, “the most dangerous.”

Kathy Kino has been helping people during some of their most vulnerable times since she began volunteering at a hospital when she was 13. She worked as a trauma nurse and a hospital chaplain for more than 15 years, and now she’s a nursing professor.

This is National Nurses Week, and Kino spoke with WLRN about how becoming a patient herself changed the way she thinks about her profession:

South Floridians poured into a community room at the West Palm Beach Police Department Monday for the first of four public workshops around the state on combating the opioid crisis.

The tour was announced in early April by Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley summed up the feeling in the room.

The man had just risen from the dead.

He’s in his mid-20’s. Sitting on a couch in a house in Delray Beach. Pale as a ghost, sweaty, wide-eyed, disoriented.  Like he just woke up from a nightmare.

Hundreds of people packed a town hall meeting in Pahokee Friday with Florida Senate President Joe Negron. They say his proposal to build a 60,000-acre reservoir on prime farmland would be a plague to their region.

“The devastation from the loss of jobs is unimaginable at this point,” said lifelong Pahokee resident Lynda Moss. Her family owns a trucking business in the region.

[Read More about the Everglades and the efforts to restore it: River of Grass, Dying of Thirst]

China is the source of deadly fentanyl that’s fueling an opioid overdose epidemic in South Florida and elsewhere in the United States.

That’s the finding of the new report released Wednesday by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission entitled Fentanyl: China’s Deadly Export to the United States.

As the addiction recovery industry boomed in South Florida over the past decade, so did the number of recovery residences - also known as sober homes.

A task force is making recommendations to state legislators for cracking down on fraud in the addiction recovery industry.

The Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force is putting the finishing touches on a report headed to lawmakers in Tallahassee. It outlines strategies to better regulate drug treatment providers and sober homes.

Among the recommendations: Give the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) the ability to license and inspect commercial sober homes.

Addiction treatment is big business in Palm Beach County.

According to research conducted by the Palm Beach Post, it brings in more than $1 billion a year, making addiction treatment the county’s fourth largest industry – only behind tourism, construction and agriculture.

What can be done to stem the epidemic of opioid overdoses in South Florida?

The epidemic of opioid overdoses continues to grip Delray Beach. The city saw 75 heroin overdoses last month, with 4 of them fatal.

That’s a slight decrease from October, which brought an all-time high of 88 heroin overdoses resulting in 11 fatalities.

Delray Beach emergency personnel attribute the spike in overdoses to synthetic opioids like fentanyl being added to heroin sold on the street.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is more than 50 times more potent than heroin.

The man leading the fight against unscrupulous sober homes has a message for state legislators.

“When the appropriations process comes up, please keep us in mind,” said Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg at a meeting with the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation in Boca Raton Tuesday.

Aronberg leads the county’s Sober Home Task Force - created in July 2016 with a $275,000 appropriation from the state legislature.

A sober home operator is under arrest in Palm Beach County following a corruption investigation.

Ehab Iskander, 33, of West Palm Beach, faces six counts of patient brokering. He runs Integrity House, a sober home in Lake Worth. Sober homes — also known as halfway houses — are group living facilities for recovering addicts.

Lawyers representing 142 retired NFL players filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL Monday in Fort Lauderdale.

They want the league to recognize CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, as an occupational hazard that should be covered by workers compensation.

Tony Gaiter, 42, is the lead plaintiff in the suit.

He played for the University of Miami, before going on to play for the New England patriots and the San Diego Chargers.

The nation’s top doctor is calling for a change in the way America addresses substance abuse.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy aims to remove the public stigma of addiction by defining it as a neurological brain disorder that needs to be addressed like any other chronic illness.

The federal government is giving cities some new guidance on how far they can go in regulating sober homes.

The Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development issued the joint statement Thursday.

It gives local governments some legal wiggle room to oversee group housing for recovering addicts on a case-by-case basis.

For example, many cities bar more than three unrelated people from living in a single-family home. But sober homes are often given an exemption to that rule because the occupants are considered to be disabled and are protected by federal law.

A Broward county judge heard testimony from six witnesses today (Thursday) in a case involving ballots missing Amendment 2, the “medical marijuana” question. Among the witnesses was Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. County election officials confirmed four ballots went out without the Amendment 2 question. Those voters were issues new ballots to correct the problem.

Two more Broward voters realized Tuesday that their absentee ballots lacked the medical marijuana question, according to the Miami Herald.

This came just hours after a Broward County judge said she would rule quickly on a case involving ballots missing Amendment 2.

Two Oakland Park voters received ballots last week that did not have the question pertaining to Amendment 2, which would legalize marijuana statewide for medical use. The Broward Supervisor of Elections said they were “test-ballots” sent out accidentally.

Peter Haden/WLRN

This has been one of those weeks in South Florida when there’s a lot of water in the streets, even when the sun’s out. It’s a King Tide week. Business people, scientists and local officials got together in a Fort Lauderdale conference room with the water rising outside the building to talk about the problem.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is asking the feds to bypass Tallahassee and work directly with the city to keep the UF Health Jacksonville open.

The hospital receives around $95 million a year from a federal program called LIP that covers uninsured, low-income patients. The LIP program is set to expire at the end of June.