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

Tekijä: Beth Macy

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,0725919,236 (4.13)57
Psychology. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

An instant New York Times bestseller, Dopesick is the only book to tell the full story of the opioid crisis, from the boardroom to the courtroom and into the living rooms of Americans struggling to save themselves and their families: "masterfully interlaces stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference" (New York Times) from a journalist who has lived through it.

In this extraordinary work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of a national drama that has unfolded over two decades. From the labs and marketing departments of big pharma to local doctor's offices; wealthy suburbs to distressed small communities in Central Appalachia; from distant cities to once-idyllic farm towns; the spread of opioid addiction follows a tortuous trajectory that illustrates how this 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 sets out to answer a grieving mother's question-why her only son died-and comes away with a gripping, unputdownable story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy investigates the powerful forces that led America's doctors and patients to embrace a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the same 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, compelling, and unforgettably humane portraits of families and first responders determined to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows that one thing uniting Americans across geographic, partisan, and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But even in the midst of twin crises in drug abuse and healthcare, Macy finds reason to hope and ample signs of the spirit and tenacity that are helping the countless ordinary people ensnared by addiction build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. "An impressive feat of journalism, monumental in scope and urgent in its implications." - Jennifer Latson, The Boston Globe.
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» Katso myös 57 mainintaa

Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 58) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This is a mammoth to read, with a lot of going back and forth, as well as all the extensive information and medical reports involved. However, another interesting and human insight into a severe problem. ( )
  Elise3105 | Aug 13, 2023 |
A sad exploration of unscrupulous corporations and doctors feeding off several broken American systems. Although, in contrast to the book's tagline, I would aruge the dealers involved were also ensnared in these broken systems. I also suspect that at least some of the doctors involved were trapped by a student loan debt epidemic that a silent majority of doctors raised working-class face which, to be clear, does not excuse the choices they made.

The book follows several stories at a time and may require some light re-reading to jog your memory if you do not immediately recall the names mentioned in the chapter but the overall organization is well done and worth the minor inconvenience. ( )
  b0mbi | May 27, 2023 |
(4.5) A great book, but not surprisingly, a heartbreaker. Looks at the opioid epidemic from many angles: the culpability of Big Pharma; the socioeconomic conditions that made opiates attractive; the dogged work of doctors, counselors, law enforcement and parents to fight back; and the stories of the users. Well written & researched. Only drawback is that it's sometimes confusing to keep track of the many strands as they're dropped and interwoven. I would have liked a timeline and a list of characters. Even so, highly recommended. ( )
  mportley | May 10, 2023 |
If a book has Beth Macy’s name on the cover as the author, a few things are certain: first, it’s non-fiction; second; it’s the result of superb reporting; and third, it’s important. “Dopesick” is no exception. Macy’s preparation for writing this book is just like all her other books. She obviously spent hundreds of hours researching and interviewing sources to ensure that the information she presents is accurate. Additionally, she did as she always does with her books: she chose a group of people to focus the story on that makes the statistics much more than numbers. Whether or not you agree with Beth Macy’s approach, you can’t argue with her information, and “Dopesick” should make every reader (or listener) concerned and willing to take action to address the opioid epidemic in this country, if nothing more than contacting elected representatives. My only criticism of “Dopesick” is the narration. Beth Macy narrates, and while I often enjoy hearing the author’s own words from him or her, in this case, I think Macy might have been better hiring a professional narrator. Her reading is often halting, sometimes nearly stumbling, especially on multi-syllable words. And when the reading is smooth, it sounds just like that: reading. That shouldn’t keep a person from listening to the audio book, however. As I said in the beginning: if it’s by Beth Macy, it’s an important book and this one is certainly that. ( )
  FormerEnglishTeacher | Apr 25, 2023 |
An interesting, readable, and useful -- if not definitive -- account of the United States' ongoing opioid epidemic. The author's account of how early small-town cops caught on to the fact that a new product called OxyContin could become a problem for law enforcement is positively uncanny, and she does a good job of tracing the spread of opioid and heroin abuse from truly hopeless corners of Appalachia to wealthier zip codes. Other parts of "Dopesick" aren't quite as strong. The account of how Purdue pharma developed OxyContin and the actions it took in response to evidence that patients were abusing it gets the main points across but also feels somewhat cursory.

To be perfectly honest, it was difficult to read "Dopesick" without comparing it to "Dreamland", Sam Quinniones's book on the origins of our current drug epidemic. While Quinnionnes appraised this material with an investigative reporter's eye and devoted lots of space to a structural analysis of the epidemic, Macy's book puts more focus on the human element. She describes how the sudden deaths of a handful of teenagers brought home the epidemic's seriousness to a small city in a mostly rural corner of Virginia and provides affecting accounts of their short, unfinished lives. Her descriptions of how mothers and public health professionals living at the epidemic's ground zero have tried to contain its effects is both illuminating and heartbreaking. She describes the personal sacrifices made by people who've lost loved ones to opioid addiction at length, highlighting just how unprepared the health system in these regions was for a problem of this scale. We hear about frantic phone calls to faraway treatment centers and midnight drives to get addicts addicted to detox, and, of course, about overdoses that happen despite everyone's best efforts and the lasting pain of losing a son or daughter to drugs. I found "Dopesick" to be an emotionally trying read.

Lastly, while Quinniones's dealers were, by design, eminently replaceable cogs in a machine, Macy takes the time to get to know some of the people personally responsible for trafficking an enormous amount of heroin from Baltimore to a rural area of Virginia in which it was, if not completely unknown, relatively uncommon. She illustrates how most long-term users are also dealers, balancing sales with use to keep from getting sick. Her portrait of Ronnie, a more-or-less big time distributor that serviced many of the addicts we meet in "Dopesick" is interesting in its own right. He seems intelligent and talented. He'd trained as a computer technician and obviously ran a well-oiled operation. He ducks personal responsibility for much of the damage he caused in the pocket of Appalachia in which he operated, pointing out that he didn't introduce the drug to his territory and often did little more than save his customers a drive to the big city. It's revealing though, that even as his was in full swing he knew that his run was unlikely to last more than six months. Predictably, his arrest did relatively little to stop the flow of drugs into the area where he used to sell.

On balance, I'd recommend readers take a look at Quinniones's book first, though both of these accounts have their strengths and weaknesses. In the final analysis, though, what's especially dispiriting is that much of what Macy describes here is still happening, and by almost all accounts it's gotten worse. Overdose are much higher now than they ever were during the period described in "Dopesick." Sadly, I have no idea how any of this ends. Macy's description of a community doctor's efforts to educate people about opioid addiction and her descriptions of the family-led grassroots efforts to get addicts care prove that there's still some hope to be found, but all-encompasing solutions to this crisis still seem to be in short supply. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Apr 18, 2023 |
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Psychology. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

An instant New York Times bestseller, Dopesick is the only book to tell the full story of the opioid crisis, from the boardroom to the courtroom and into the living rooms of Americans struggling to save themselves and their families: "masterfully interlaces stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference" (New York Times) from a journalist who has lived through it.

In this extraordinary work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of a national drama that has unfolded over two decades. From the labs and marketing departments of big pharma to local doctor's offices; wealthy suburbs to distressed small communities in Central Appalachia; from distant cities to once-idyllic farm towns; the spread of opioid addiction follows a tortuous trajectory that illustrates how this 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 sets out to answer a grieving mother's question-why her only son died-and comes away with a gripping, unputdownable story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy investigates the powerful forces that led America's doctors and patients to embrace a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the same 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, compelling, and unforgettably humane portraits of families and first responders determined to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows that one thing uniting Americans across geographic, partisan, and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But even in the midst of twin crises in drug abuse and healthcare, Macy finds reason to hope and ample signs of the spirit and tenacity that are helping the countless ordinary people ensnared by addiction build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. "An impressive feat of journalism, monumental in scope and urgent in its implications." - Jennifer Latson, The Boston Globe.

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