Finding America Story of the Week: East Tennessee Father Mourns His Son’s Death from Prescription Drugs

Vince Brown’s son, Michael, died in 2013. Michael was a former professional baseball pitcher who became addicted to prescription painkillers after an injury ended his baseball career.

“If you have an addicted child, family member or whatever, there is no book that tells you how to go work that,” Brown said. “And here you are, as a parent, grasping. What can I do? Where do I go? What can I do? Where are you health professionals out there that can help me?”

Michael and Vince’s story, the Finding America story of the week, is one of many in Tennessee. Tennessee is ranked third in the country for prescription drug abuse, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Finding America project TruckBeat has been telling the stories behind these statistics in East Tennessee.

I wasn't trying to kill him: Vince Brown's story from Jess Mador on Vimeo.

TruckBeat is a health storytelling project about East Tennessee. Lead producer Jess Mador and WUOT take a food truck turned mobile studio out on the road to report on community health topics in depth. Find more at, and see photos from TruckBeat’s live event featuring Vince Brown and many others on Instagram.

Experience the Finding America open-source documentary at