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Death in Mud Lick : a coal country fight against the drug companies that delivered the opioid epidemic

by Eyre, Eric, 1965-

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 17 copies
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Carnegie Library of Homestead New Non-Fiction 362.29 Eyre
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Summary
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the smallest newspaper ever to win the prize in the investigative reporting category , an urgent, riveting, and heartbreaking investigation into the corporate greed that pumped millions of pain pills into small Appalachian towns, decimating communities.

Death in Mud Lick is the story of a pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia, that distributed 12 million opioid pain pills in three years to a town with a population of 382 people--and of one woman, desperate for justice, after losing her brother to overdose. Debbie Preece's fight for accountability for her brother's death took her well beyond the Sav-Rite Pharmacy in coal country, ultimately leading to three of the biggest drug wholesalers in the country. She was joined by a crusading lawyer and by local journalist, Eric Eyre, who uncovered a massive opioid pill-dumping scandal that shook the foundation of America's largest drug companies--and won him a Pulitzer Prize.

Part Erin Brockovich , part Spotlight , Death in Mud Lick details the clandestine meetings with whistleblowers; a court fight to unseal filings that the drug distributors tried to keep hidden, a push to secure the DEA pill-shipment data, and the fallout after Eyre's local paper, the Gazette-Mail , the smallest newspaper ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, broke the story.

Eyre follows the opioid shipments into individual counties, pharmacies, and homes in West Virginia and explains how thousands of Appalachians got hooked on prescription drugs--resulting in the highest overdose rates in the country. But despite the tragedy, there is also hope as citizens banded together to create positive change--and won. A work of deep reporting and personal conviction, Eric Eyre's intimate portrayal of a national public health crisis illuminates the shocking pattern of corporate greed and its repercussions for the citizens of West Virginia--and the nation--to this day.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "When William "Bull" Preece died of an overdose in 2005, his flinty sister Debbie recruited her friend, lawyer Jim Cagle, to find out why. A tiny mom-and-pop pharmacy in Kermit, West Virginia (population 382) had received shipments of a staggering 9 million opioid pain pills in just two years. How could these clearly illegal sales go unchecked? The West Virginia attorney general taps Cagle to sue several drug distributors--until the election of a new, business-friendly attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, whose wife was--no joke--a lobbyist for one such distributor. Eyre covered the many threads of the story for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, chasing down a Goliath who kept changing: the distributors, who passed the blame to crooked doctors and pharmacists and, eventually, the addicts themselves; Morrisey, denying blatant conflicts of interest in late-night Twitter rants; and the DEA, a boar's nest of either incompetence or corruption. Meanwhile, the Gazette-Mail faces bankruptcy and layoffs, and Eyre himself faces a personal health crisis. This is an infuriating story, compellingly told, and adds another layer to the reporting of the opioid crisis laid out in Beth Macy's Dopesick (2018). It is also a tale of compassionate people deeply wronged and a dogged journalist who won't stand for it."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Eyre expands his Pulitzer Prize--winning investigation into the role of pharmaceutical distribution companies in West Virginia's opioid epidemic in this riveting and essential debut. Eyre begins by relating the 2005 overdose death of former coal miner William "Bull" Preece, who became hooked on Oxycontin and Lortab after suffering a back injury on the job. His sister, Debbie, became an anti-opioid crusader and her lawyers eventually contacted Eyre, who in 2013 was covering West Virginia's lawsuit against wholesale drug distributors, including Fortune 500 companies Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, for flooding the market with pain pills. Eyre eloquently interweaves the story of Debbie's pursuit of justice on behalf of her brother with his own battles against West Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey, whose ties to the pharmaceutical industry called into question his commitment to pursuing the state's lawsuit. As Eyre labored--ultimately successfully--to pry information from obfuscating drug firms and government agencies, he was also contending with Parkinson's disease and his small-town newspaper's financial woes. Packed with colorful details and startling statistics, this page-turning journalistic thriller shines a brilliant spotlight on a national tragedy. Agent: Frances Coady, Aragi Inc. (Mar.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Opioid abuse -- West Virginia.
Drug abuse -- West Virginia.
Pharmaceutical industry -- Corrupt practices -- West Virginia.
Drugs -- Overdose -- West Virginia.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First Scribner hardcover edition.
Language English
Description xiv, 289 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 261-270) and index.
ISBN 9781982105310
1982105313
Other Classic View