Dopesick - Beth Macy

Staff Pick

While addiction to heroin and other substances has been around for a long time, the current opioid crisis really is something new. It grew up fast around the 1996 introduction of OxyContin to the market, and the juggernaut of aggressive marketing, high dosages, and powerful pills that could be swallowed, snorted, or injected got people hooked fast. At this point there are some 2.6 million people addicted to opiates nationwide. Overdoses are the leading cause of death for those under age 50, and in a decade the total deaths from opiates exceeded all deaths from HIV/AIDS. The statistics are numbing. But let them be the gateway for the invaluable stories Macy has to tell about individual users, their families, doctors, and communities. Macy is a passionate reporter and while she focuses on the western part of Virginia--the region she knows best, and which is also among the hardest hit by opiates—she gives a comprehensive look at the history of drugs in this country, traces their different demographic trails, totes up the costs, and outlines the nation’s wrong-headed and/or conflicting criminal justice, drug, and health-care policies. The heart of her book, though, are those suffering because of OxyContin and related opiates. She traces the wrenching downward trajectory of several Lee County young  people, dramatically showing how their lives were taken over by the drugs, how hard they struggled to get clean, and how many times they failed. While there are programs and new approaches that replace policing with medical care, so far, there aren’t enough statistics to see a turn in the tide. At this point, opiate deaths are expected to peak around 2020, with about 250 a day.

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America By Beth Macy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316551243
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Little, Brown and Company - August 7th, 2018