Cover image for Dopesick : dealers, doctors, and the company that addicted America
Dopesick : dealers, doctors, and the company that addicted America
Macy, Beth, author.
Personal Author:
Large print edition.

First edition.
Physical Description:
vi, 548 pages (large print), 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Part one: The People v. Purdue. The United States of Amnesia -- Swag 'n' Dash -- Message board memorial -- "The corporation feels no pain." Part two: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. Suburban sprawl -- "Like shooting Jesus" -- FUBI -- "Shit don't stop." Part three: "A broken system." Whac-a-mole -- Liminality -- Hope on a spreadsheet -- "Brother, wrong or right" -- Outcasts and inroads. Epilogue: Soldier's Disease.
Chronicles America's more than twenty-year struggle with opioid addiction, from the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, through the spread of addiction in distressed communities in Central Appalachia, to the current national crisis.
Geographic Term:


Call Number
Material Type
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 LP 362.29 MAC Adult NonFiction Book
Penn Yan Public Library 1 LP 362.2909 MAC New Large Print

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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

Author Notes

Beth Macy is a journalist. Her work has appeared in national magazines and The Roanoke Times, where her reporting has won more than a dozen national awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard. Her first book, Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town, was published in 2014.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Award-winning Virginia-based journalist Macy, author of best-sellers Factory Man (2014) and Truevine (2016), carefully constructs the through line from the midnineties introduction of the prescription painkiller OxyContin to the current U.S. opioid crisis: 300,000 deaths over the last 15 years, with that number predicted to double in the next 5. Its addictiveness initially far underreported, Oxy was outrageously marketed to doctors and overprescribed to patients, who quickly couldn't do without it. The much-later introduction of an abuse-resistant formula made heroin cheap and easily accessible, a natural next step. Macy's years of following the issue have earned her remarkable access to those suffering from opioid-addiction disorder as well as the people who tirelessly love and care for them and, in many cases, honor their memories. Again and again, she hears of the devotion the addicted claim to the drug, over every other aspect of their lives, and the motivating fear of dopesickness, gutting withdrawal symptoms. And despite its proven long-term success, medication-assisted treatment remains stigmatized and often too difficult to access. Although the realities are devastating, the doctors, the bereaved, and the advocates Macy introduces do offer hope. Hers is a crucial and many-faceted look at a still-unfolding national crisis, making this a timely and necessary read.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Journalist Macy (Truevine) takes a hard and heartbreaking look at the cradle of the opioid addiction crisis, the Appalachian region of Virginia and nearby states. She places the responsibility for the epidemic squarely on Purdue Frederick, makers of OxyContin, and its sales division, Purdue Pharma, which engaged in near-predatory marketing practices to sell a drug that has wreaked havoc on the lives of 2.6 million Americans who are currently addicted, with more than 100 dying per day from opioid overdoses. In the first of three sections, she addresses "big pharma" in telling detail, outlining how the overprescribing of pain medication in doctors' offices and emergency rooms created a market demand that was then met by illegal drug peddlers on the streets. Section two follows the spiral of addiction as users of prescription pills no longer able to afford their habit turn to heroin, a cheaper and more lethal solution to feed their fix. In the last section, the author changes the focus to what has become an addiction treatment industry. Macy potently mixes statistics and hard data with tragic stories of individual sufferers, as well as those who love and attempt to treat them. One addict, Tess Henry, was just 26 when she was first interviewed by Macy and, despite multiple attempts at rehab so that she could raise her infant son, she was dead within three years. Macy's forceful and comprehensive overview makes clear the scale and complexity of America's opioid crisis. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Here is a comprehensive look at the opiate crisis from the formulation of heroin in 1898 to the impact of heroin and fentanyl addiction in Appalachia. Focusing on the crisis in three states-Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland-allows the author to explore the personal and family impacts of addiction in those areas, although the crisis is paralleled across the United States. The resulting tale includes the aggressive marketing of Oxycodone by Perdue Pharma; the over-prescription of pain meds by greedy physicians; the dealing and distribution of heroin laced with fentanyl to those injured on the job, athletes, and students; and overdose deaths, which are occurring at a record pace. This is a big story well told, clearly narrated by the author. The many characters and episodes are interwoven and blur somewhat in the audio format. Those serious about learning about the crisis will need a print copy with its copious source notes. VERDICT Recommended for adult nonfiction collections. ["Macy's use of current research by various experts makes clear how complex the opioid problem is, but the strength of this narrative comes from the people in the day-to-day battle": LJ 4/15/18 review of the Little, Brown hc.]-Cliff -Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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