Dave Davies

Dave Davies is a guest host for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

In addition to his role at Fresh Air, Davies is a senior reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia. Prior to WHYY, he spent 19 years as a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, covering government and politics.

Before joining the Daily News in 1990, Davies was city hall bureau chief for KYW News Radio, Philadelphia's commercial all-news station. From 1982 to 1986, Davies was a reporter for WHYY covering local issues and filing reports for NPR. He also edited a community newspaper in Philadelphia and has worked as a teacher, a cab driver and a welder.

Davies is a graduate of the University of Texas.

There's no shortage of statistics about the depth of America's opioid epidemic — there were 72,000 overdose deaths just last year — but numbers don't tell the whole story. Beth Macy takes a ground-level look at the crisis in Dopesick, a new book focusing on central Appalachia. Macy has spent three decades reporting on the region, focusing on social and economic trends and how they affect ordinary people — she says this area is the birthplace of the modern opioid epidemic.

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We think of whales as creatures of the sea, but scientists now believe that 40 million to 50 million years ago, whales had four legs and lived at least part of their lives on land.

"We can tell that they're whales based on key features of their anatomy — specifically parts of their skull," paleobiologist Nick Pyenson says. "But they were certainly not like the whales that you would see today."

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Kidnapped by Somali pirates, journalist Michael Scott Moore spent two and half years in captivity. At times he was held on land, other times at sea. Once, when he was on a 160-foot tuna boat, he tried to escape by jumping over the side at night.

"It was, like, a 20 foot leap off the deck of the ship, and I was just exultant at first," Moore says.

Moore had hoped the pirates would leave him behind in the water. "The engine wasn't in terrific shape, so I didn't think there was a way to turn around the ship," he says.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who is giving the keynote address at the Podcast Movement conference, which is being held this week in Philadelphia.

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By some accounts, nearly half of America's incarcerated population is mentally ill — and journalist Alisa Roth argues that most aren't getting the treatment they need.

Roth has visited jails in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta and a rural women's prison in Oklahoma to assess the condition of mentally ill prisoners. She says correctional officers are on the "front lines" of mental health treatment — despite the fact that they lack clinical training.

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Nick Offerman has made a career out of playing colorful cranks — most notably, Ron Swanson, the hyper-masculine boss on the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation.

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Ben Rhodes was 24 years old and working on a city council campaign in Brooklyn on Sept. 11, 2001, when a hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center. He stood on the street, watching with a group of other New Yorkers as a second plane struck and, then, as the first tower collapsed.

"I just remember walking home and thinking, 'My life is going to be different because of this; I feel a need to be a part of whatever happens because of this,'" Rhodes says. "I didn't know exactly what that meant, but I knew that I was in a fork in the road that was going to lead me in a new direction."

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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