The opioid crisis is the worst addiction epidemic in U.S. history. Drug overdoses kill nearly 64,000 people per year, and the nation’s life expectancy has fallen for two years in a row. But statistics alone can’t tell the story. TIME commissioned veteran conflict photographer James Nachtwey to document this crisis over the past year through the people living it every day. Along with TIME’s deputy director of photography, Paul Moakley, Nachtwey traveled across the country gathering stories from users, families, first responders and others at the heart of the epidemic. On the pages that follow, his images are paired with voices from Moakley’s interviews, which have been edited. The result is the Opioid Diaries, the first issue in our 95-year history devoted entirely to one photographer’s work. This is a visual record of a national emergency–and it demands our urgent attention.
To read the Opioid Diaries on TIME.com, click here.