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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,449 ratings  ·  747 reviews
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
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 9th 2018 by Head of Zeus (first published August 7th 2018)
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Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company Who Addicted America by Beth Macy is a 2018 Little, Brown and Company publication.

“Because the most important thing for the morphine-hijacked brain is, always, not to experience the crushing physical and psychological pain of withdrawal: but to avoid dope sickness at any cost.”

While some may remain untouched, most Americans are painfully aware of the grip opiate addiction has on our country. Like the synopsis states: “From distressed small commun
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The informant leaned into [Lieutenant Richard] Stallard’s cruiser. ‘This feller up here’s got this new stuff he’s selling. It’s called Oxy, and he says it’s great,’ he said.

‘What is it again?” Stallard asked.

‘It’s Oxy-compton…something like that.’

Pill users were already misusing it to intensify their high, the informant explained, as well as selling it on the black market. Oxy came in much higher dosages than standard painkillers, and an 80-milligram tablet sold for $80, making its potential f
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I personally know 5 families who have lost a family member(s) to heroin/fentanyl. Good, strong, well-educated families. It is happening all around us, in all walks of life.

There are plenty of heartbreaking personal accounts in this book from families who have lost a loved one, and the steps they took in an attempt to save them. It can, and does, happen to anyone. They aren’t “other”, they are us, and it is heart-wrenching to read.

According to the author the roots of the epidemic stems from a pe
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 2012, author and investigative social journalist, Beth Macy began writing about the worst drug (heroin) epidemic in world history. “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and The Drug Company That Addicted America” began in the hills and valleys of Appalachia, the mid-western rust belt, rural Maine before rapidly spreading throughout the U.S. In 2016, 64,000 Americans perished from drug related causes and overdoses-- outnumbering the total of those killed during the Viet Nam War. Macy explored the terri ...more
"But you can't put a corporation in jail; you just take their money, and it's not really their money anyway. The corporation feels no pain."
Beth Macy has made a name for herself with her award-winning research and journalism, and she put her skills to good use in covering America's opioid crisis from past to present. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America discusses all the warnings history has left for us concerning the addictive qualities of opiates, referen
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling, informative, compassionate, and harrowing. Dopesick is a comprehensive account of America's opioid crisis that has plagued disparate rural areas throughout the country, though Beth Macy mainly narrows down her research to her local Appalachia. She pieces together interviews with doctors, advocates, addicts, and individuals who have lost family members to the drug, to weave some kind of narrative out of the onslaught of factors which have contributed to the epidemic.

While the reality
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking, infuriating, incredibly well-researched.

Review to come.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was ridiculously excellent. Macy is a fantastic writer, and she is so good at getting you to care about the people and issues in this book. I read Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic but didn't think it was particularly good, in terms of helping me understand WTF was going on with the opioid crisis. Macy's book is just SO. MUCH. BETTER. at that aspect of this, while including narrative and biography.

(Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here. This is not at all hopeful, and there
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Note: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley.)

Beth Macy has crafted a work that expertly utilizes both a grander narrative and the personal tragic tales of numerous figures and families, all to great effect to show how the ongoing epidemic came to be.

This is a work that will tear out your heart before filling you with a ferocious fury. Fury at the shameless drug companies who targeted economically depressed communities with their painkillers. Fury over the co
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown and Company for a chance to read this book. Published August 7, 2018.

For me this was a book that needed a bit of time, after reading, to be able to review it. The author Beth Macy is a favorite author of mine. I enjoy the way she lays her information out. Every book I have read by her was about a vastly different subject, but all were researched well and, although non fiction, were presented in a story-like offering.

Obvious by the title, this boo
3.5 Stars - 4 for the importance of the subject matter, 3 for the quality of the writing. I felt like there were just too many players to keep track of in the narrative. Someone introduced on page 30 by their full name is going to be unforgettable when introduced by their first name after there have been 40 or so other people introduced during the ensuing pages. Such fragmented storytelling proved to be frustrating to this reader. Nevertheless, an important book about a problem that will not soo ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An emotional, powerful, important must-read. This book wasn't trying to do what HILLBILLY ELEGY was trying to do, but it did it, anyway. It did a great job getting close to answering those big questions. I got a huge understanding of the cycle of addiction and struggle in Appalachia. Beth Macy writes with her heart and her skill. Both are enormous.
Peter Mcloughlin
I have read several books on the opioid epidemic but never had I read a nonfiction narrative documenting such a landscape of relentless distress and horror. This book is heartwrenching as individuals and communities sink into levels of hell that grow worse and worse. The author Beth Macy is a reporter at a Roanoke Virginia newspaper and covers the story of the opioid epidemic from the grotesque greed of Purdue pharma which pushed these pills by taking doctors on junkets to sell their OxyCodone i ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know the backstory of America's opioid epidemic, look no further than Beth Macy's meticulously researched book. The personal vignettes bring a face to the stories we read about in the paper. I know many people will compare it to Hillbilly Elegy, which I learned a great deal from, but this book raised more questions for me. I think it would be a fantastic book club discussion. It points out a broken health care system that will continue to let people down if we don't make changes s ...more
Ellen Gail
If you've seen my reviews of books like American Pain and Dreamland, you'll know that I work in pharmacy. (also that I am totally a shill for 'Big Pharma'. Cause I can't possibly review books and, you know, have my own opinions on them?)

Seems awfully suspicious to me.

“I can remember telling my residents, ‘A patient can’t get hooked on fourteen days’ worth of [opioid] pills.’ And I was absolutely wrong.”

Anyway, talking about Dopesick. You've got a really good bit of nonfiction here. Timely, wel
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly well researched with a clear understanding of all the different facets of why and how Opioid addiction manifests and spreads like a wildfire out of control. Why the current laws and legislation will never outsmart the current model of profiteering and abuse. Unfortunately it's a war where only those affected will see and live the reality of what some will only see as a "godsend". The Pain medication debate resulting with a "steamrolling" epidemic, where the balance between assisting i ...more
Jill Mackin
An excellent book about the opioid crisis in America. Dopesick is a very readable book about a major problem, which began in the central Appalachia area of Virginia, and has spread across the country.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dopesick is an excellent companion to Sam Quinones’ Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. Macy expands on Quinones' reporting on Purdue Pharmaceutical’s indefensible marketing of OxyContin that resulted in thousands and thousands of addicted users. Perdue was forced to reformulate and paid serious fines, but left devastated lives (and deaths) in its wake.

Macy excels at recounting the individual stories of families that have had to deal with their sons and daughters being addict
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Net Galley for the free ARC.
I had barely started reading and I was immediatly getting fired up. First of all - the greed of drug companies, salespeople and doctors.Whatever happened to "First do no harm"? I never realized the amount of money that was at stake here. I also did not realize that doctors caved in so easily to drug reps.

But then, really in the end the decision to take the drugs lies within each individual. On some level you have got to know that you should not need any opi
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was eye-opening in several respects. Being generally aware and reading about this epidemic is one thing, but having such a detailed account of the hurdles and obstacles people have to overcome to get treatment, is a whole other thing. I found the writing a little choppy at times - anecdotes and side comments thrown in spots - which I could have done without. But overall, this was as good as it was difficult to read. The most frightening thing is that it is not entirely clear how we get out ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 writin ...more
Liz Bartek
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great work by Macy, as always; truly heartbreaking, we're not doing enough to address this epidemic.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beth Macy presents a compelling and very readable argument for who should hold the blame for the current opioid crisis killing as many as 7 people an hour in the U.S. First she points to pharmaceutical companies that developed these drugs and aggressively marketed them to doctors despite convincing research showing its highly addictive properties. And she blames the doctors who over prescribed these opioids because it was easier than monitoring patients or helping them find other means of pain m ...more
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember back in high school, as part of a senior project about drugs and drug use, I had to write a paper. My argument in that paper was that legalization of any drug was a terrible idea, and would ultimately do more harm than good. This was back in 1990, when "just say no" was the all-encompassing message sent out to kids around the country. That paper, and the overly-simplistic attitude and mindset are not things I think about very often these days...but they definitely come to mind upon fi ...more
John Spiller
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have read "Dreamland" by Sam Quinones, then "Dopesick" may be a bit redundant but still a worthy read. I thought Quinones did a better job examining how the change in approach to pain management, which was ruthlessly exploited by Purdue Pharma (the maker of Oxycontin), ultimately spawned what is now known as the "opioid crisis". Macy does a better job detailing the human cost of opioid addiction. I have read numerous books on the lives of heroin addicts, and Macy still managed to gut me w ...more
Betsy Holcombe degolian
A fascinating look into the history and reality of the opioid epidemic. Macy did her research and compassionately tells the story of those touched and living in the throes of the epidemic.
People, just read this. I never claimed to know much about drugs, and this book confirmed that I was right. What a sad sad book! If you have children, I highly recommend you check this book out. Literally, from your library if necessary! It will remind you to always keep your eyes open in regards to your children. Talk to them! This book affected me on a deep level, and I don't have kids to worry about, and I have never really taken prescription drugs. Especially those discussed in this book. It ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An incredibly throughly researched look into the opioid epidemic in the U.S. - I went into this one knowing very little about the topic but finished feeling like I had a rounded understanding, which I think is the mark of a very good non-fiction book. Highly recommended for fans of non-fiction.
Traci at The Stacks
I enjoyed the content overall. I didn’t always like the writing style. At times felt very sympathetic to certain kinds of addicts. It’s a good book but I wonder about the story being told and who is vilified and who isn’t.
Lucas Brandl
This is one of the saddest and most terrifying books I've ever read. Drug overdose is currently "the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of fifty, killing more people than guns or car accidents, at a rate higher than the HIV epidemic at its peak." This book captures many tragic stories of users, dealers and pharmaceutical executives, explaining how opioids in America have exploded into the seemingly uncontrollable mess it is today.

The opioid crisis is not specific to towns or cit
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Obsessed with Tru...: Dopesick, by Beth Macy 6 28 Sep 06, 2018 01:29PM  
“There were leaders here and elsewhere who agreed with the woman, he knew, including an Ohio sheriff who'd recently proposed taking naloxone away from his deputies, claiming that repeated overdose reversals were "sucking the taxpayers dry." Lloyd thought immediately of the answer Jesus gave when his disciple asked him to enumerate the concept of forgiveness. Should it be granted seven times, Peter wanted to know, or should a sinner be forgiven as many as seventy times? In the shadow of the church steeples, Lloyd let Jesus answer the woman's question: "Seventy times seven," he said.” 2 likes
“America’s approach to its opioid problem is to rely on Battle of Dunkirk strategies—leaving the fight to well-meaning citizens, in their fishing vessels and private boats—when what’s really needed to win the war is a full-on Normandy Invasion.” 2 likes
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