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Cover of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America
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Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America

By: Beth Macy

Publisher: Hachette Trade

Imprint: Little, Brown

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780316551243

Other Formats:

Audio | Trade Paperback

On Sale: | Pages: 384

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  • About the Book
  • Reviews
An instant New York Times and indie bestseller, Dopesick is the only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in America: "a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency" (New York Times) from a bestselling author and journalist who has lived through it In this masterful work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America'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 become 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 answer 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 America embraced a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the 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, while 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
In "Dopesick," newspaper reporter Beth Macy focused her investigative skills and journalistic compassion to the devastating opioid epidemic. She tells a real-life horror story.... Only 10 percent of opioid addicts manage to get treatment. Even when they do, remission is elusive. The book has heroes, too: a country doctor, a nun-turned-drug-counselor, and researchers who pushed the alarm over and over.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
[U]ntil I read “Dopesick” by journalist Beth Macy, I didn't grasp all of the factors that have produced the present crisis.... This exhaustively reported book includes many heartbreaking examples of young lives lost to drugs, sometimes so suddenly that parents had been unaware of the problem, sometimes after repeated efforts to help a child get clean in rehabilitation facilities or treatment programs. Although Macy's stories are set in Virginia, they could happen anywhere in the United States.
—Washington Post
Every number is a tragedy, another drop in the river of heartbreak that's washing over our country and changed the way we live.... “Dopesick” grew out of reporting Macy did at The Roanoke Times and has an Appalachian focus that grounds its first section, on how Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, aggressively marketed the drug to rural communities in the region and minimized the risks of addiction.
—Seattle Times
Ms. Macy devotes a large segment of her book to the role of pharmaceutical companies — especially Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin—in aggressively marketing addictive medications and of doctors liberally, even carelessly, prescribing them.... Readers familiar with components of the opioid crisis will see that “Dopesick” covers well-tilled ground, but for those new to the topic there is much to learn. Like many journalists, Ms. Macy writes about the tenacity of addiction as if it were a purely physiological process.
—Wall Street Journal
You've probably heard pieces of this story before, but in "Dopesick" we get something original: a page-turning explanation.... Macy is certainly not the first to write about the opioid crisis, but in "Dopesick" she brings a new level of nuance and humanity to a story that has been splashed across headlines for years. (I won't spoil the jaw-dropping ending.)
—USA Today
...a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency. The third book by Beth Macy — the author, previously, of “Factory Man” and “Truevine” — is a masterwork of narrative journalism, interlacing stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference.... Macy introduces so many remarkable people that, midway through “Dopesick,” readers may find it challenging to keep track of them.... Taken as a whole, however, this gripping book is a feat of reporting, research and synthesis.
—New York Times
Macy's strengths as a reporter are on full display when she talks to people, gaining the trust of chastened users, grieving families, exhausted medical workers and even a convicted heroin dealer, whose scheduled two-hour interview with the author ended up stretching to more than six hours.... There's a great deal in "Dopesick" that's incredibly bleak, but the most chilling moment for me was a quote from one of Macy's journalist friends. Synthetic opioids had allowed this woman, despite a severe curvature of her spine, to lead an active life without risky surgery. She resented new rules that made it more onerous for her to get the pills. "My life," she told Macy, "is not less important than that of an addict."
—New York Times
... an impressive feat of journalism, monumental in scope and urgent in its implications.... The modern opioid epidemic has a cast of thousands � drug developers, pharmacists, doctors, dealers, addiction specialists, and of course, users and their families � and Macy interviews so many of them that it can be hard to keep all the characters straight. But their stories drive the crisis home far more powerfully than statistics. Their narratives are gritty and heartbreaking...
—Boston Globe
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