Heroin addiction. Suicide. Transgender issues. These “hot button” topics can be controversial and polarizing, but what about the people who actually deal with them? What are their stories?

“Under the Label” is an occasional series by the staff of the Observer-Reporter that is intended to take a look at the human side of these issues.

The series will appear in the newspaper's print and digital editions, with special online features including videos, data, additonal photos and podcasts.

Washington resident who emigrated from Vietnam inspired by America’s ‘positive thinking’

Vietnamese native Ha Myers is one of nearly 800,000 immigrants living in Pennsylvania. She shares her story in this edition of "Under the Label."

Former Washington boxer Troy Moore shares story of addiction, recovery

Former boxer Troy Moore talks addiction, crime and inspiring others in this edition of "Under the Label".

Even today, being biracial in America is not always easy

A study shows majorities of multiracial adults are proud of their mixed-race backgrounds, but many also say they have been subjected to racial slurs or jokes, and about one-in-four have become

Washington County resident opens up about transitioning from a man to a woman

In this edition of "Under the Label," Washington County resident Allison Rae Barnhardt opens up about transitioning from a man to a woman.

Former ‘Marianna Chemist’ turns page on a new life

A former heroin dealer and user who spent seven months running from police has a new lease on life after taking drastic measures to hold himself accountable.

W&J student tackles gender, identity on campus

A transgender Washington & Jefferson College student who identifies as a nonbinary person is tackling the issue of gender neutrality on campus.

Recovering addict: 'We cannot do it alone'

A local woman who beat her heroin dependency discusses the stigma of addiction and offers advice for those who are struggling.

Heroin addict: 'It brought me to my knees'

Recovering heroin addict Nicole Leith shares her story as part of "Under the Label," an occasional series focusing on the human side of social issues.

Addict addicted to dead lift

Justin Buckels is a recovering heroin addict. He owns a gym and trains fellow users as well as body builders as a way to combat addiction.

Therapist urges addicts to 'take the first step'

Outpatient therapist Theresa Cypher offers hope to those struggling with addiction.