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Pain Meds

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Episode 203: Justin

Season 14, Episode 14

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Justin
Age: 32
Location: Bryan, Texas
Addiction: Heroin, Methadone

Official Synopsis: The black sheep of a successful family, Justin got hooked in prescription opiates after he was run over by a truck. Now he begs, borrows, and steals from family and friends to maintain his methadone and heroin habit.

Original Air Date: August 2015
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 201: Erin

Season 14, Episode 12

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Erin
Age: 36
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Addiction: Dilaudid

Official Synopsis: Erin spent her teens and 20’s as an A-list rock-n-roll groupie, but a prescription to relieve neck pain got her hooked on Dialudid. Now her mother raises her 5 year old son while Erin prostitutes herself to mantain her habit.  Her family calls on Sylvia Parsons, who was intervened on by Jeff VanVonderen in 2006, and who became the first subject of Intervention to ever make the transition to interventionist.

Original Air Date: August 2015
Interventionist: Sylvia

Episode 178: Kelly

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Kelly
Age: 27
Location: Harbor City, CA
Addiction: OxyContin and meth
What’s Memorable: The man who raped when she was a kid (her sister’s boyfriend) went to jail for raping someone else and is about to be released. Her need to escape is understandable. The way she talks about what happened is excruciating. She has so much pain and reasonable resentment. It seems from the followup like she had found some measure of peace in her sobriety. I hope that continues.

Official synopsis: Kelly, a 27-year-old mother of three, mixes pills and meth to forget the man behind bars who destroyed her childhood. Can Kelly’s family come together to help her face the painful past that consumes her?
Original Air Date: November 2012
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 143: Shantel

shantel

Shantel
Age: 18
Location: Dunnville, Ontario
Addiction: Oxycontin
What’s memorable: I wonder how many kids with ADHD and get put on Ritalin end up being drug addicts.  There’s been a couple of them on this show. I’ll bet it happens a lot as a way to calm their brains. Anyway, Shantel. So young, so on the wrong path. Too bad the intervention didn’t take, she had potential.

Official Synopsis: Shantel uses OxyContin to cope with learning and mood disorders and to find friends in the drug culture. An overprotective mother provides her with money, and now Shantel, who faces potential jail time for a robbery, spends her days feeding her addiction in a motel.

Original Air Date: August 2011

Episode 147: Michelle

michelle

Michelle
Age: 30
Location: Williamstown, New Jersey
Addiction: Methadone, Xanax
What’s memorable: Unfortunately what I will remember most about Michelle is her ill-advised style and makeup choices. She’s really pretty underneath all that costume. Anyway, the way her young daughter and grandfather treat her is pretty horrifying, and while deserved to a certain extent it’s still hard to watch and seems like a bad way to behave. And the weird relationship with the 75 year old boyfriend, yikes. I really like Michelle, I hope she got her shit together and her family is nicer to her.

Official Synopsis: Michelle, 30, looks like an aging mother of two who takes a daily concoction of methadone, Xanax, and blood pressure pills to keep her identity as an edgy party girl alive, while her family begs her to wake up to the harm that her addiction has caused them. Now the family has had enough, and they’re finally ready to confront Michelle at an intervention.

Original Air Date: August 2011

Episode 183: Dana

dana

Dana
Age: 33
Location: Alvin, Texas
Addiction: Pain killers, crack
What’s memorable: This is one of those addict stories that begins entirely with a horrendously traumatic incident. It’s also one where no one really blames her for becoming addicted and wanting to numb out. Few of us could ever imagine the pain that losing 3 children at one time would cause. It’s simply unfathomable. The fact that she still has one child left is her saving grace.

Official Synopsis: Once a vibrant supermom, Dana numbs the haunting memories of almost dying in an apartment fire with a dangerous cocktail of crack and prescription pills.

Original Air Date: June 2013

Episode 176: Al

Al

Al
Age: 32
Location: Modesto, California
Addiction: Meth, Pain killers
What’s memorable: How his size and tolerance mean he’s taking 15 hits of meth plus 45 pain pills A DAY. That’s an insane amount of drugs to consume. His crazy untrue stories, the whopper of a lie we find out about at the very end, getting bullied and kidnapped as a kid, his mother’s need to never lose him. And the lovely followup.

Official Synopsis: Al, a big guy with a big personality, is sacrificing his relationships with his wife and children to chase his out-of-control meth and painkiller addiction.
Original Air Date: October 2012
Interventionist: Ken

Episode 175: Terry

Terry

Terry
Age: 32
Location: Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Addiction: Fentanyl (injected)
What’s memorable: His funny and oddly charming little laughs, the room he keeps for his daughter, his swollen hands and track marks, his seemingly proud identity as an addict, the sexual abuse he suffered as a child and his parents doing nothing about it (that’s a very common experience among addicts profiled on this show, I’ve noticed). “I feel like I’m a shell, nothing inside but emptyiness.” – Terry.

Official Synopsis:
Terry, 32, is a chef who dreamed of opening and managing his own restaurant, but his career, marriage and parental rights to his nine-year-old daughter have hit a dead end as a result of his $500 a day cocaine and fentanyl addiction.
Original Air Date: September 2012
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 170: Diana

diana

Diana
Age: 40’s?
Location: Roseville, California
Addiction: Meth, Alcohol, Norco
What’s memorable: How far she’s fallen, with the homelessness and prostitution and abusive boyfriend. Her emotionless and seemingly uncaring mother (i.e. “There are times I should have pretended to care more than I did”) and how she refused to tell her she loved her even at the intervention. Most of all, her kids. How much they adore her and care about her, how emotional they are about seeing where she’s at now. The post-rehab airport reunion at the end was so full of love and joy, it was beyond heartwarming. This was a truly powerful family story and reminded me of why I love this show so much. “I can’t believe my family gives that much of a shit about me. Unbelievable” – Diana. That is the point of Intervention right there.

Official Synopsis: Former ‘Super Mom’ to her three children, Diana has exchanged her apron for an alcohol and meth addiction and is unraveling her marriage, family and sense of self-respect.
Original Air Date: September 2012
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 165: Elena

Elena

Elena
Age: 63
Location: Fortuna, California
Addiction: Meth, Painkillers
What’s memorable: A lovable lady, this one, despite being pretty damn loopy. This is a very real and touching story, from Elena’s conflicts with her family over being a lesbian and the tragic loss of her partner, to the heartwarming and awesome followup. This is the first Intervention episode about an elderly meth addict.

Official Synopsis: Elena, 63, has no intentions of stopping her daily meth addiction, even though her children and grandchildren desperately want their adoring grandmother to get well.
Original Air Date: August 2012
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 162: Kaylene

kaylene

Kaylene
Age: 21
Location: Barnardsville, North Carolina
Addiction: Pain meds (Percocet mostly) and Xananx
What’s memorable: Girl gets giddy when she’s high! At least when she’s not passing out. She seems really convinced that she’s super happy and loving her life. Her entire goal right now is to just have a good time and get away from all the pain she’s had in her life. I get that. But she is SO not seeing how it’s affecting the people she loves. Watching her mother and 7 year old sister go through the little girl’s penny jar in order to give Kaylene money for drugs is pretty awful and heartwrenching. And that intervention! Holy crap, the tears, they were rollin. There’s a reason why these things work – having someone you love dearly say the thing you’ve been wanting them to say forever, to show emotion that you didn’t know they were capable of, is an incredibly powerful thing.

Official Synopsis: As a child, Kaylene was physically abused by her father. Later, she and her mother began using coke together. Now Kaylene is a 21-year-old who oozes sweetness and charm but who is unafraid to die and will stop at nothing to get her next fix. After so many years of neglect, can Kaylene’s family finally step up and help her get the live-saving treatment she so desperately needs?

Original Air Date: March 2012
Interventionist: Donna

Episode 154: Zeinah

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Zeinah
Age: 24
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Addiction: Oxycodone, Xananx, Oxycontin
What’s memorable: What a messed up family she comes from. Her father pretty much ignored her once he had a son and now he outright considers her an investment gone bad. Also, the mother who writes books about being married to a muslim terrorist, and the creepy boyfriend. Wonder what happened to that guy? They don’t mention him after those couple of disturbing scenes. Also, Zeinah’s intervention is one of the most powerful I’ve seen. “I’m not scared of going to fucking rehab, it’s failing I’m scared of.”

Official Synopsis: Once a successful, outstanding student, Zeinah turned to drugs to deal with the drama-filled divorce between her Christian mother and Muslim father. After her husband overdosed, her drug use increased, and she lost custody of her daughter. Can Zeinah’s family forget their grudges and religious differences to come together and save her from her prescription pill death spiral?

Original Air Date: February 2012
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 152: Christina

Christina-meth

Christina
Age: 21
Location: Riverside, California
Addiction: Meth, Norco
What’s memorable: How crazy, violent, and paranoid she gets when high, how abusive she is towards her mother, hallucinating her crying son and bugs crawling under her skin, and a first-of-its kind intervention: Genuine yes followed by a freak out session and violent demand for drugs and refusal to go. (And then a heart-wearming followup)

Official Synopsis: A beautiful 21-year-old addicted to Norco and meth, Christina has violent outbursts, believes that bugs are crawling under her skin, and has threatened suicide. Can an intervention save Christina before she loses her mind entirely?

Original Air Date: January 2012
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 112: Shane

Shane Season 6 Episode 112

Shane
Age: 26
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Addiction: Oxycontin primarily, but also Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax, etc.
What’s memorable: Dude gets HIGH on those pills, man. Can’t even keep his eyes open. The relationship with his addict dad is interesting, how far he went down after his death. Also, the delusions about his Italian ancestry is fascinating. He’s clearly just desperately searching for an identity and has been for a long time.

Official Synopsis: A talented cellist and an aspiring music producer, Shane’s musical aspirations are now out of reach because he abuses prescription drugs and deals drugs out of his grandmother’s house. After injuring his neck in a car accident, he began abusing OxyContin. His father was a drug addict, too, who died from an overdose. Now Shane is following in his father’s deadly footsteps–can an intervention break the cycle?
Original Air Date: January 2010

Episode 105: Greg

greg

Greg
Age: 50’s
Location: North Carolina
Addiction: Morphine, Internet scams
What’s memorable: What an awesome and respectable southern family man he was before the addiction took hold, so in love with his home and his wife and kids. How shockingly gullible he is with the internet scams, to the point of bankrupting his family. $600,000 and counting! I really had no idea ANYONE ever fell for advance-fee scams, but he is fully invested in that craziness. He seriously believes he’s going to get that money. It’s people like Greg that keep those Prince of Nigeria emails coming into my inbox. The conversation with “Mr. Washington” trying to get Greg’s pin number is just brutal to listen to. “It’s hard to believe that all of them are liars.” Yeah, it is, but they are.  #Capitalism. I don’t think Greg would be believing any of their crap if he wasn’t on morphine.

Official Synopsis: Greg once owned a thriving business and was a devoted husband and father. But after a back injury left him disabled, he lost his business, started gambling, and became dependent on pain medication. He also became obsessed with Internet sweepstakes scams, and he has bankrupted his family in a relentless pursuit of big winnings. Having lost everything, Greg’s family just wants their proud father back.
Original Air Date: December 2009

Episode 92: Nikki

nikki

Nikki
Age: late 30’s?
Location: New York City
Addiction: Methadone with anti-anxieties (benzos)
What’s memorable: How attached Nikki’s younger daughter is to her despite never really having a good relationship with her, the boyfriend who certainly cares but also seems to need her to be messed up in order to feel needed.

Official Synopsis: When she was young, Nikki’s mother and grandmother worked hard to give her a good life. Nikki excelled in school, but she was devastated when her grandmother died. She began hanging out with a rebellious crowd, skipping school, and using crack. Nikki eventually had two daughters, but has remained addicted to drugs. Her daughters desperately want to have a relationship with Nikki, and know that an intervention is their only hope of saving their mother’s life.
Original Air Date: July 2009

Episode 99: Marci

marci

Marci
Age: late 30’s?
Location: Chico, California
Addiction: Meth, pain meds
What’s memorable: The seriously high-speed crazy stuff she says that makes absolutely no sense to anyone else. Her in-denial mother and dying brother. How shockingly different she was as a wife and mother just a few years ago.

Official Synopsis: To outsiders, Marci’s family life seemed ideal. But while her mother worked, Marci was left home with her alcoholic father. She endured his abuse while her mother looked the other way. Marci began drinking and doing drugs. Her marriage failed, and she lost custody of her children. But her mother still denies that Marci has a bad problem. Can an intervention help Marci and her mother to stop their dangerous behavior before it’s too late?
Original Air Date: September 2009

Episode 95: Danielle

Danielle Season 6 Episode 95

Danielle
Age: 33
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Addiction: Percocet, Self-injury (cutting, burning)
What’s memorable: 50 percs a day! Damn, girl. But Danielle is severely clinically depressed and suicidal and genuinely believes that she needs these pills in order to not kill herself. Also memorable: the husband who is still there because he made a commitment and will take care of her no matter what, the alcoholic dad who now drinks 10 weeks a year, and the mother who gives her her own legitimately prescribed percocet.

Official Synopsis: Although she has two loving children and an adoring husband, Danielle is dangerously addicted to Percocet. As a teen, Danielle felt neglected by her alcoholic father and began cutting herself. Now she spends each day hiding behind closed curtains, ignoring her children, and self-medicating with up to 40 Percocet a day. An intervention is the last chance Danielle’s children have to get their mother back.
Original Air Date: July 2009

Episode 84: Sandy

sandy

Sandy
Age: 40’s
Location: Gloucester, Massachusetts
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka), pills
What’s memorable: Her husband, also an alcoholic, beat the shit out of her and then got sober 9 months ago. And Sandy loves him more than anything, just wants him back. Also, the completely vacant look Sandy always has on her face, and the lovely daughter that takes care of her – I just want to hug her.

Note: Sandy passed away after she left treatment.

Official Synopsis: By her late 20’s, Sandy had achieved the American Dream. She was married with four beautiful daughters and owned a home she and her husband built themselves. But today, Sandy’s life is unrecognizable from what it once was. Her days consist of combining prescription drugs with a pint of vodka, and relying on her daughters to monitor both her diabetes and drinking. Her speech is slurred, and she’s been hospitalized several times. Her family has only one option left–an intervention.
Original Air Date: March 2009

Episode 81: Lana

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Lana
Age: 24
Location: St. George, Utah
Addiction: Alcohol & Pain pills
What’s memorable: Lana makes the Most Disturbing list on account of what happened to her only 6 months before the episode aired. I can’t begin to imagine the feeling of watching yourself being raped for 5 hours on video and not knowing it ever happened (she was drugged). I understand why the police showed her the tape, but I can’t help but wonder how different things could have been if she didn’t know it ever happened. I just don’t know how I would feel in her situation. It’s so upsetting to even think about. Also memorable: the darling, sad little brother who takes care of her, her very decent family that just don’t get it, the violent boyfriend, the sheer amount of wine she drinks.

Official Synopsis: Lana grew up in a family of 11 children, and her older sister introduced her to drinking at the age of seven. Despite this precarious start, Lana excelled in sports and was active in the church. But at 18, Lana began to enter into dangerous relationships with men and started abusing drugs and alcohol. She was in two near-fatal car accidents. And now, too make things even worse, she is in a relationship plagued by physical violence.
Original Air Date: February 2009

Episode 78: Brittany

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Brittany
Age: 20’s
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Addiction: Dilaudid
What’s Memorable: Oh this poor messed-up girl, living her whole life under the shadow of her older sister, to the point that her mother thought she may be the reincarnation of her. She was also molested as a kid and gang raped as a teenager – it’s not a mystery why she needs to numb out. I just hope she was able to find her way out and figure out who she is.

Official synopsis: Brittany was born five years after the brutal rape and murder of her 9-year-old sister, Terry. Brittany struggled with the pressure to live up to her mother’s perfect image of Terry. At 12, Brittany was molested, and she began taking drugs and sneaking out at night–anything to get out from under Terry’s shadow. Now she shoots up Dilaudid six times a day, begs family members for money and prostitutes herself. Brittany’s mother scrambles to give Brittany enough money for her fix. Desperate and on the verge of bankruptcy, Brittany’s family prepares for an intervention.
Original Air Date: December 2008

Episode 63: Sandra

Sandra Season 4 episode 12

Sandra
Age: 35
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Addiction: Pills, mostly Pain Meds
What’s Memorable: The sitting in the garage, the making NO sense and then nodding off in the middle of a sentence, the poor sad son Dakota who can’t stop crying.

Official synopsis: She sits in her garage every day, popping painkillers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and sleeping pills. Sandra’s pill use is so bad that her two sons, 17 and 11, have left the house. Her best friend, Julie, moved in with her, and although Julie suffers from multiple sclerosis, she takes care of all the housework. Julie and Sandra’s husband, Dan, ration Sandra’s pills so she doesn’t overdose. They know they’re enabling her, but they’re afraid of what will happen if they stop. Sandra’s family is ready to try an intervention, but they’re not sure she’ll ever choose her family over her addiction.
Original Air Date: December 2007

Episode 53: Brooke

Brooke Season 4 episode 3

Brooke
Age: 26
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Addiction: Pain meds & muscle relaxers
What’s Memorable: Poor Brooke. Such a sad story. She’s in unbearable physical pain EVERYDAY and wants so badly for her family to understand that, and they just don’t. All they see is an addict that inconveniences them and requires too much attention. It’s hard to watch how horribly they treat her and how much emotional pain it causes her. The intervention, oy vey. I cried so hard.

Update: Brooke died on December 21, 2014 of an apparent overdose.  Our condolences to her family and loved ones. Read Obituary

Official synopsis: Brooke, 26, was a beautiful teenager with a magnetic personality. An elite gymnast on the cheerleading squad, she looked forward to a successful and athletic life. But tragedy struck in her senior year when she was crippled by Still’s disease, an early form of rheumatoid arthritis. Her doctors prescribed narcotics to ease her pain, but Brooke soon became addicted. Her heartbroken family has sought new treatments to help Brooke, but she denies she’s an addict. Now her family has turned in desperation to their last hope–an intervention.
Original Air Date: January 2008

Episode 100: Linda

linda2

Linda
Age: 39
Location: Los Angeles, California
Addiction: Fentanyl
What’s Memorable: There’s a lot to learn about Chinese family dynamics in this one. The things that her little brother Sam has to do to take care of her at her parent’s request is horrible. The intervention is a doozy.

Official synopsis: After graduating college, Linda found success working as an extra in Hollywood, achieving the glamorous life she always wanted. But her dreams died when she came down with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by joint dislocations. Linda started taking fentanyl, a painkiller 100 times stronger than morphine. As her painkiller use escalated, she claimed that different sources were causing her pain, including electricity, energy, colors, and even specific people. Despite Linda’s wild claims, her mother clings to the belief that Linda’s pain is real and she must do everything to help her, including depleting the family’s savings and sending her son to be Linda’s caretaker.

Original Air Date: November 2009

Episode 117: Andrew

Andrew Season 8 episode 117

Andrew
Age:  21
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
Addicted to: OxyContin
What’s Memorable: The living in a motel room with his 2 little brothers and father because his addiction (and his dad’s gambling) has bankrupted them.

Official synopsis:  Once bright, likable, and athletic, Andrew has become a gaunt, menacing OxyContin addict. As a child, Andrew learned to manipulate his father, Dan, who now admits, “I can’t stand up to Andrew. He’ll threaten to commit crimes and trash our motel room. I’d rather give him money for a pill than have him out robbing innocent people.” Andrew, his father, and two brothers have been evicted seven times due to property damage and financial hardship, and they can go days without food. Can an intervention help Andrew–and make his father realize that if he doesn’t get tough with Andrew, the whole family will be destroyed?
Original Air Date: July 2010

Episode 131: Darick

darick-meth

Darick
Age:  34
Location: LaFollette, Tennessee
Addicted to: Meth, OxyContin
What’s Memorable: Darick’s story is so sad and he seems like a really cool, likable guy off the drugs. “I could care less about myself. I’m just a worthless redneck meth-cookin nobody” – Darick.

Official synopsis:  Once a football player with a bright future, Darick dropped out of school to get married when his girlfriend got pregnant. Darick loved being a father, but when his marriage ended, Darick learned his daughter was not his biological child, and he was denied all contact with her. Devastated, Darick turned to drugs. Having already lost one family member to addiction, Darick’s close-knit family is enabling his habit. They fear that if they don’t, they’ll bury Darick, too.

Original Air Date: December 2010
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 137: Benny

benny

Benny
Age:  38
Location: Bridgeport, Ohio
Addicted to: Opiates, Alcohol, Pain Meds
What’s Memorable: Benny really believes he deserves to be crazy rich, and seems confused about why he’s not yet. He thinks it’s just going to magically happen someday, and all his problems will be solved. Also, how horrible he is to his mother, the intervention.

Official synopsis:  An ambitious inventor and entrepreneur, Benny once dreamed of becoming a millionaire. But stress, drugs, and alcohol have turned his dream into a nightmare. Worst of all, he is no longer a dependable father to his six-year-old daughter. Benny, now 38 and living with his mother, has seen his relationship with his family reach the breaking point, and only an intervention can save him now.
Original Air Date: January 2011

Episode 130: Jimmy

jimmy season 9 ep 5 130n

Jimmy
Age:  28
Location: LaSalle, Illinois
Addicted to: Methadone
What’s Memorable: How sick Jimmy’s addiction has made his mother Joanie. She’s way more of a mess than he is, and probably the most enabling and co-dependent parent I’ve seen on this show.

Official synopsis:  Raised by an absentee alcoholic father, Jimmy joined a gang at 13 and was soon addicted to heroin. The birth of Jimmy’s son prompted him to try to get clean, but when things got tough with his new family, he began using again. Now Jimmy shares a dangerous methadone addiction with his ailing mother that threatens to kill them both.
Original Air Date: January 2011

Episode 134: Cassie

Cassie Season 9 Episode 134

Cassie
Age:  22
Location: Coral Springs, Florida
Addicted to: Oxycodone, crack
What’s Memorable:The horrible Costa Rican and Jamiacan “modification camps” her father sent her to as a teen.

Official synopsis:  Cassie, 22, is a crack and oxycodone addict who was abandoned by her mother and raised by her father and his string of wives. At 13, she was sent to an overseas behavior modification school that offered her little more than imprisonment and abuse. She escaped into a life of drugs and had a baby she couldn’t care for. Now she’s turned to prostitution to pay for her drugs, and her father enables her addiction while the rest of the family wonders how to keep her from dying.
Original Air Date: January 2011

Episode 35: Ryan

Ryan Season 3 episode 3

Ryan
Age: 23
Location: Southern California
Addiction: OxyContin
What’s Memorable: I learned more about OxyContin in this one episode than I have anywhere else. Ryan is one of the more unpleasant and apathetic addicts profiled on this show, he’s really very unlikeable here, but I blame the Oxy. Severe apathy is a side effect of long-term use. Also memorable: the shooting up with friends in the house with the kids, the alcoholic stepfather.

Official synopsis: From the outside, Ryan and his family look picture perfect. They live in a beautiful house in an upscale northern California neighborhood. But inside, their world is falling apart. Ryan, once a talented drummer who was awarded a music scholarship to the state university, is addicted to opiates. He injects OxyContin up to 15 times a day. His moods swing wildly from needy to hostile, and his family no longer knows how to deal with him or help him. Their only hope is an intervention.
Original Air Date: March 2007

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