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Dreamland: The True Tale of Americas Opiate Epidemic

by Sam Quinones

Book list *Starred Review* Heroin addiction has evolved from back-alley ghettos to suburban shopping malls, changing hearts and minds about how it is perceived and how it should be treated. That evolution pivots on a decision by Purdue Pharma to aggressively market OxyContin and efforts by Mexican drug traffickers to push black-tar heroin. In the 1990s, both highly addictive drugs flooded the markets in middle-class neighborhoods. OxyContin benefited from changes in philosophy on pain treatment and from worry about addiction that prevented even cancer patients from getting pain relief to the more freewheeling idea that pain relief is a human right. Unscrupulous doctors operated pill mills, prescribing OxyContin for dubious reasons and huge fees. Middle-class professionals, workers, and students found themselves easy targets for sellers of black tar, semi-processed opium produced in Mexico and sold by eager bands of drug crews. Like pizza deliverymen, the crews offered speedy delivery and good customer service. The distribution, centered in a small Mexican village and spread throughout the U.S. in midsize towns and cities, defied the typical profile of a drug cartel. Journalist Quinones weaves an extraordinary story, including the personal journeys of the addicted, the drug traffickers, law enforcement, and scores of families affected by the scourge, as he details the social, economic, and political forces that eventually destroyed communities in the American heartland and continues to have a resounding impact.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this fascinating, often horrifying investigation, journalist Quinones (True Tales from Another Mexico) delves into the heart of America's obsession with opiates like heroin, morphine, and OxyContin. He looks at how aggressive marketing and irresponsible business tactics led to the widespread use of addictive prescription painkillers (especially OxyContin) and how Mexican drug cartels introduced black tar heroin into small towns and vulnerable areas around the U.S. The story of the so-called Xalisco Boys, the source of so much misery and exploitation, unfolds with grim efficiency under Quinone's scrutiny. He doesn't hold back as he describes how widespread addiction and pill mills devastated entire communities, such as the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio. Through extensive interviews and research, Quinone gives a very human perspective to this topic, telling the tales of addicts and pushers, researchers and cops alike. While some of the threads become repetitive, this remains a harrowing, eye-opening look at two sides of the same coin, the legal and illegal faces of addictive painkillers and their insidious power. Agent: Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary Management. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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