Mariana Van Zeller on Covering the Opioid Trade

Mariana Van Zeller with an opioid trafficker in SInaloa, Mexico, holding a bag of Fentanyl ready to be shipped to the United States. Photo courtesy of Fusion. 

Mariana Van Zeller with an opioid trafficker in SInaloa, Mexico, holding a bag of Fentanyl ready to be shipped to the United States. Photo courtesy of Fusion. 

"I had the Portuguese television station on one side, and my mother on another phone crying and begging me not to leave the house. And I had to tell her 'Mom, this is this is my life.'"

We spoke to correspondent, investigative reporter, and J-School graduate Mariana van Zeller about covering drug stories, how she got her break in journalism, and selling carpets in Syria to make a living as a stringer. 

Van Zeller was a 2017 duPont-Columbia Award winner for her work on Death By Fentanyl, Fusion's investigative documentary into the pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels that have let to the ongoing opioid crisis. 

The crux of the story? Drug traffickers in Sinaloa learned from the ways pharmaceutical companies in the US were selling opioids to patients. And they were all making a fortune. See the rest of the 2017 duPont-Columbia Awards here

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