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Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
by Sam Quinones

Published: 2015-04-21
Hardcover : 384 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across ...

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Introduction

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America--addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.

With a great reporter’s narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive--extremely addictive--miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin--cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico’s west coast, independent of any drug cartel--assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters--pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents--Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of April 2015: The rise of OxyContin addiction and subsequent heroin use has been much in the news lately as we try to make sense of what is happening in suburban and small town America. Sam Quinones’ Dreamland takes a multifaceted approach to the subject, profiling people from all walks of life, ranging from citizens of impoverished Mexican ranchos to young affluent white athletes, all cogs in the wheel of the latest drug epidemic. Unlike the crack cocaine phenomenon of the 1980s, today’s widespread opiate addiction has roots in the prescription pads of certified physicians and the marketing machine of Big Pharma. When the addict, forced by availability and economics, transitions to heroin he is met by a new breed of entrepreneurial drug dealers who are only too happy to take calls and make deliveries. The changing landscape of small town America, along with science, opportunity, shame, and of course greed, all play a role here and to see the puzzle come together, one comprehensible piece at a time, is as fascinating as it is unsettling.-- Seira Wilson

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Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

"Like a David Simon TV show gone cosmic, this investigation into our country's opiate epidemic cuts feverishly between national nightmares: the rise of Big Pharma, the decline of the Rust Belt, the drug-trade underworld along the America–Mexico border, The fear that health insurance does everything besides ensure health. Quinones build every hyper-precise detail and desperately human story into a coherent portrait of American rot."--Entertainment Weekly Best Books of 2015 (#3)

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by Sharon811 (see profile) 05/24/18

 
  "DreamLand"by Enelram (see profile) 10/09/17

Sam Quinones did a masterful job laying out the narrative of this tale without allowing it to get bogged down in statistics and details. In anyone else's hands it could have been unreadable, but no so... (read more)

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