The True Tale Of America's Opiate Epidemic

Book - 2015/04
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Winner of the NBCC Award for General Nonfiction

Named on Amazon's Best Books of the Year 2015--Michael Botticelli, U.S. Drug Czar ( Politico ) Favorite Book of the Year--Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize Economics ( Bloomberg / WSJ ) Best Books of 2015--Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky ( WSJ ) Books of the Year--Slate.com's 10 Best Books of 2015-- Entertainment Weekly 's 10 Best Books of 2015 --Buzzfeed's 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015--The Daily Beast's Best Big Idea Books of 2015-- Seattle Times ' Best Books of 2015-- Boston Globe 's Best Books of 2015-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch 's Best Books of 2015-- The Guardian 's The Best Book We Read All Year--Audible's Best Books of 2015-- Texas Observer 's Five Books We Loved in 2015--Chicago Public Library's Best Nonfiction Books of 2015

From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma to main streets nationwide, an explosive and shocking account of addiction in the heartland of America.

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America--addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland .

With a great reporter's narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma's campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive--extremely addictive--miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin--cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico's west coast, independent of any drug cartel--assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters--pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents--Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.

Publisher: Random House 2015/04
ISBN: 9781620402504
Branch Call Number: ON ORDER


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Mar 19, 2018

This book brought home the sheer greed of pharmaceutical company executives. They are absolutely a government-supported drug cartel in many ways. Also very disturbing: the most devious of the doctors who wrote millions of opiate subscriptions to encourage addiction so that he could grow his wealth was a man named Dr. David Procter, who is a Canadian, who after 12 years in prison, was deported back to Canada and now lives in Toronto. I sure hope he is not practicing medicine here today. If so, it would be sheer negligence on the part of the Canadian government and medical association to allow this man to ever hold a prescription pad in his hand again.

Jan 05, 2018

JUly 2018

Aug 31, 2017

In the chapter "The Poppy" on page 55, he says that one of the brand names that the heroin dealers came up with in the 1970s was "Obamacare". What?? Obama was just a little kid in the 1970s.

Cynthia_N Apr 17, 2017

Quinones did a great job of bringing together the factors that created the current drug epidemic. I definitely have a solid understanding of how we got here. Slow read but so worth it!

Feb 26, 2017

I found this book tedious. He has a fascinating, alarming story to tell, but the book is constructed in seemingly random vignettes lacking structure. It becomes repetitive quickly.

Jul 30, 2016

Good storytelling. My only criticism is the lack of discussion about racism and classism.

Jul 25, 2016

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It's a good look at the opioid crisis in America and you will learn a lot

Nov 14, 2015

This was like the War and Peace of opiate addiction. To say Sam Q. needs an editor and an abridged version is like saying I'm not great in relationships. Kind of understated is all I'm saying. I get that your a journalist but you're no longer getting paid by the word. And we are adults so we get it the first time but he restated everything in every way imaginable. The best part of the book was Perdue Pharmacy's testimony that , "It's an extreme anti-opioid discriminatory animus or zealotry known as opiophobia that informs, permeates, and perniciously corrupts the development and management of public health policy." This, when attorneys attempted to point out that OxyContin might could be a liiiiittle addictive. It's hard to determine what's worse an attorney, Big Pharma exec or Monsanto. It was interesting though to read the inside scoop of the opiate explosion but I'd suggest the Cliff's Notes.

Oct 06, 2015

Describes how the marketing and widespread use of prescription pain killers has led to increased heroin use across the country.

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Jan 10, 2017

Nutty thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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