An instant New York Times and indie bestseller, Dopesick is the only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in The united states: “a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency” (New York Times) from a bestselling writer and journalist who has lived through it
In this masterful work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of The united states’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and grow to be so firmly entrenched.
Beginning with a single dealer who lands in a small Virginia town and sets about turning high school football stars into heroin overdose statistics, Macy endeavors to reply to a grieving mother’s question-why her only son died-and comes away with a harrowing story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy parses how The united states embraced a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In one of the crucial same distressed communities featured in her bestselling book Factory Man, the unemployed use painkillers both to numb the pain of joblessness and pay their bills, at the same time as privileged teens trade pills in cul-de-sacs, and even high school standouts fall prey to prostitution, jail, and death.
Through unsparing, yet deeply human portraits of the families and first responders struggling to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But in a country unable to provide basic healthcare for all, Macy still finds reason to hope-and signs of the spirit and tenacity necessary in those facing addiction to build a better future for themselves and their families.
“An impressive feat of journalism, monumental in scope and urgent in its implications.”–Jennifer Latson, The Boston Globe
An Amazon Best Book of August 2018: I thought I understood the origins and have an effect on of The united states’s opioid crisis. Then I read Dopesick. Beth Macy’s book revealed the greed that drove OxyContin to be The united states’s drug of choice, and it opened my eyes to the shame of addiction that kept this epidemic hidden until far too late. Opioid addiction has touched nearly all of us in the 20 years since OxyContin came to market, and it’s something that didn’t have to happen. Money–absurdly huge sums of it–encouraged doctors, politicians, and the pharmaceutical industry to accept claims about the safety of this painkiller even when it used to be in conflict with what they saw in their practices and communities. There were such a lot of warning signs. And there were such a lot of people—particularly in small middle American towns–who cried foul, but no one in power cared to act. Beth Macy is a brilliant investigative journalist and a compassionate human being, and she tells this story like no one else has so far. Dopesick offers just the right blend of personal stories and cold hard facts; it’s a powerful book that incites conversation. There’s so much I wish to share from Dopesick, but I guess what I most wish to say is this: read it. And then pass it on. –Seira Wilson, Amazon Book Review