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Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America (2018)

by Beth Macy

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5933528,774 (4.07)38
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. "Everyone should read Beth Macy's story of the American opioid epidemic" -- Professor Anne C Case, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Sir Angus Deaton, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics… (more)
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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
This book outlining the opioid epidemic in central Appalachia was as full of information and good reporting as it was kind and sympathetic to the victims. I initially picked it up because it features my hometown prominently. I'm glad I did. This book cemented my stance on Medication-Assisted treatment for addiction - as for it. It also reminded me of the dangers of the disease that is addiction. ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
Following the emergence of the opioid epidemic in the U.S., detailing drug companies' actions and count proceedings. ( )
  Sovranty | Jun 21, 2020 |
Oxycontin and the resulting flood of heroin has killed more people than AIDS. In fact, it's also rapidly increasing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.

What makes this book special is Marcy's long-standing investigative reporting. As she walks you through events from 10 years ago, 5 years ago, etc: she was there. As she describes the trials and tribulations of someone who's died, it's because she knew that person and was interviewing them before they died. This is a non-fiction page turner. She also focuses much more on addicts avoiding dopesickness than on them getting high for kicks, although that's how it starts.

What can we do? She hammers home a few things, though there is no one ultimate solution. More money to clinics with better oversight (there are tons of shady detox clinics). More focus on methadone, suboxone, and vivitrol. The later two drugs come with their own share of problems, but are still what research shows works best. Next, universal health care that includes addiction treatment--the vast majority of rehabs and detox programs are totally unaffordable.

A problem she didn't discuss much is that the cause of the crisis is related to the cure. Oxy flowed to make Bayer billions, results be damned. They changed the formula to make it abuse-resistant, but only as their patent for regular Oxy was running out. Vivitrol is a monthly shot that makes users immune to opiates, but one shot costs ~$1,500. Why? Because it's proprietary; drug companies want to make the same killing off saving people that Bayer made off of killing them.

( )
  mitchtroutman | Jun 14, 2020 |
Outstanding delineation of the hold narcotics obtained in Appalachia, including antecedents through current issues, illustrated through the lives of individuals with OUD and their families. The number of dead adolescents and young adults is heartbreaking and appalling. ( )
  moekane | Apr 8, 2020 |
Dopesick by Beth Macy provides an interesting discussion about the prescribed drug epidemic, but too much information given like a textbook. Macy shows that drugs have invaded the population and have gotten out-of-control. The drug OxyContin manufactured by Purdue Pharma, who targets the poor souls in Appalachia. The stories are heart wrenching as the crisis spreads to other areas. ( )
  delphimo | Mar 20, 2020 |
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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. "Everyone should read Beth Macy's story of the American opioid epidemic" -- Professor Anne C Case, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Sir Angus Deaton, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics

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