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

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UPC: 9780316551304
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Author: Beth Macy and Hachette Audio
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  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (August 6, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316551309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316551304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
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.


New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the 2019 Library of Virginia People's Choice Award in Nonfiction
LA Times Book Prize for Science & Technology Winner
American Society of Addiction Medicine Annual Media Award Winner
2018 Kirkus Prize Finalist
2019 Library of Virginia People's Choice Award for Nonfiction finalist
2019 Ohioana Book Award in nonfiction finalist
Andrew Carnegie Medal shortlist
800-CEO-READ 2018 Business Book Awards Longlist
New York Times Bestseller
One of New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2018
New York Times critic Janet Maslin's Top Five Best Books
An NPR's On Point Top Title of 2018
One of Literary Hub's Ultimate Best Books of 2018
One of ALA's 2018 Notable Books
Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
One of Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Best Southern Books of 2018
One of Newsweek's 61 Best Books of 2018
Washington Post Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of 2018
One of Anne Lamott's Favorite Books of 2018

"Macy's harrowing account of the opioid epidemic in which hundreds of thousands have already died masterfully interlaces stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference."―New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

"A harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency...a masterwork of narrative journalism, interlacing stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference."―Jessica Bruder, New York Times Book Review

"This book is comprehensive, compassionate and forceful. No matter what you already know about the opiod crisis, Dopesick's toughness and intimacy make it a must."―Janet Maslin, New York Times


Beth Macy is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books Truevine and Factory Man. Based in Roanoke, Virginia for three decades, her reporting has won more than a dozen national awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard.