Winner of the NBCC Award for General Nonfiction Named on Amazon's Best Books of the Year 2015--Michael Botticelli, U.S. Drug Czar ( Politico ) Favorite Book of the Year--Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize Economics ( Bloomberg / WSJ ) Best Books of 2015--Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky ( WSJ ) Books of the Year--Slate.com's 10 Best Books of 2015-- Entertainment Weekly 's 10 Best Books of 2015 --Buzzfeed's 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015--The Daily Beast's Best Big Idea Books of 2015-- Seattle Times ' Best Books of 2015-- Boston Globe 's Best Books of 2015-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch 's Best Books of 2015-- The Guardian 's The Best Book We Read All Year--Audible's Best Books of 2015-- Texas Observer 's Five Books We Loved in 2015--Chicago Public Library's Best Nonfiction Books of 2015 From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma to main streets nationwide, an explosive and shocking account of addiction in the heartland of America. 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.
"*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 (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"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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