Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and The Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy

“For centuries, dealers of opium, morphine, and heroin understood that an addicted person’s fear of running out – of becoming dopesick – portended one hell of a business model.”

The mother’s search, the politicians’ platitudes, the fixer’s cooked numbers, the prosecutor’s insomnia, the drug company’s pitch, and the addict’s dopesick wails. Traveling up and down the Shenandoah Valley’s Interstate 81, Beth Macy captures every face of the opioid crisis in her landmark book Dopesick. In a tone that is compassionate, yet urgent and frustrated at times, her book is an important exposé showing all the unfortunate reasons why rural America has become a breeding ground for OxyContin and heroin addiction.

Layered with the history of the opiates, from opium to morphine to fentanyl to heroin, Macy describes how addiction has cut across all races, classes, and geographic lines. She powerfully discusses the stigma, fear, and misinformation that has created two sides in the search for care, one advocating for imprisonment of criminals and the other for treatment of patients. She details the role the law, and local and federal politics play in the options for rehabilitation. And how big pharm has influenced and encouraged a quick, but dangerous fix for pain to doctors and counselors over the past 20 years.

From Roanoke to Maine to Humbolt County, the opioid crisis has swept across the United States with pundits on every side calling for action. Macy cuts through the debate with well-documented research that advocates for a combination of Medication-Assisted Treatment and a twelve step program. Word by word she builds a most striking argument for change. Even in the face of a lack of federal action and the complaints of nimbys, the author provides real solutions and hope. Macy’s work and her writing is indispensable; this book is a must-read for every politician and parent, and really every American. The Highest Recommendation.

5 out of 5 stars

Releases on August 7th, 2018.

Thank you to NetGalley, Little, Brown, and Co, and Beth Macy for an advanced copy for review.

12 thoughts on “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and The Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy

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  1. Excellent review. I was curious about this one. I’ve read a previous book of hers, Truevine, and it was really good. I can imagine her style of research and writing would lend itself well to this topic too. Onto the reading list it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Magnificent review, sir. As a researcher in Criminology, this definitely highly intrigues me. It’s been a while I have hit the pause button on non-fiction related to drugs/crimes and true-crime. Might be time to try and read a couple before 2019 arrives!

    Liked by 1 person

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