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Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic Hardcover – April 21, 2015
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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
“The most original writer on Mexico and the border out there.” ―San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Over the last 15 years, he has filed the best dispatches about Mexican migration and its effects on the United States and Mexico, bar none.” ―Los Angeles Times Book Review
“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.” ―starred review, Booklist
“Quinones' research ensures that there is something legitimately interesting (and frequently horrifying) on every page. A-.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“[A] compelling examination . . . a driven and important narrative.” ―Wall Street Journal
“In Dreamland, former Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones deftly recounts how a flood of prescription pain meds, along with black tar heroin from Nayarit, Mexico, transformed the once-vital blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, and other American communities into heartlands of addiction. With prose direct yet empathic, he interweaves the stories of Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics agents, and small-town folks whose lives were upended by the deluge of drugs, leaving them shaking their heads, wondering how they could possibly have resisted.” ―Mother Jones
“Smack is back in the news as heroin use spikes and busts pile up at the border, making Dreamland a timely book. Veteran journalist and storyteller Sam Quinones provides investigative reporting to explain the latest surge. But he also goes way deeper; he tells the social and human stories at the heart of the opiate trade and how it tortures the souls of America and Mexico.” ―Ioan Grillo, author of EL NARCO
“Dreamland spreads out like a transnational episode of The Wire, alternately maddening, thrilling, depressing, and with writing as sharp and insightful as a razor blade. You cannot understand our drug war and Mexican immigration to the United States without reading this book.” ―Gustavo Arellano, syndicated columnist ¡Ask a Mexican!
“Quinones is a veteran journalist and expert storyteller long steeped in the demi-monde of Mexican-American bordercrossings. Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic is an intricate jigsaw puzzle piecing together his findings from intensive investigation of the unprecedented spread of heroin addiction throughout the United States over the past two decades . . . Dreamland offers an eye-opening, enlightening and mesmerizing account of one of the most important stories of the last few decades . . . Quinones is a master storyteller, with a knack of bringing hundreds of characters to life . . . Dreamland stands as a model of meticulous investigative reporting providing important insights not only the current opiate epidemic but also into the sometimes negative symbiosis between our country and our neighbors to the south.” ―New York Journal of Books
"Quinones recounts individual tales--from junkies in Portland, Ore., to pill mills in Appalachia to entrepreneurial heroin traffickers from small-town Mexico--to describe a “catastrophic synergy” in which over-prescription of opioid painkillers begets addicts, many of whom then turn to heroin, which is cheaper and just as ubiquitous." ―Best Books of 2015, Boston Globe
“Unflinching . . . compellingly investigated.” ―Kirkus
"The path of heroin from America’s urban slums to its trim suburban subdivisions is traced by a Los Angeles Times reporter. Quinones’ deeply researched and readable book says well-heeled addicts got hooked first on pain-killing medications like OxyContin--but then switched to much cheaper Mexican heroin, feeding a problem across the nation." ―Best Books of 2015, St. Louis Dispatch
“Fascinating . . . a harrowing, eye-opening look at two sides of the same coin, the legal and illegal faces of addictive painkillers and their insidious power.” ―Publishers Weekly
“A haunting tale of opiate abuse in the heartland . . . Using expert storytelling and exhaustive detail, Quinones chronicles the perfect storm of circumstances that cleared the way for the Mexican narcotic to infiltrate our small and midsize communities over the last two decades.” ―Kansas City Star
"You won’t find this story told better anywhere else, from the economic hollowing-out of the middle class to the greedy and reckless marketing of pharmaceutical opiates to the remarkable entrepreneurial industry of the residents of the obscure Mexican state of Nayarit . . . Dreamland--true crime, sociology, and exposé--illuminates a catastrophe unfolding all around us, right now." ―Laura Miller’s 10 Favorite Books of 2015, Slate
“The must-read book about America's heroin crisis . . . Quinones combines thorough research with superlative narrative skills to produce a horrifying but compulsively readable book about opiate addiction . . . a book that every American should read. And I state that without reservation . . . This book is as much of a page-turner as a good mystery, as well as being thoroughly and disturbingly illuminating about a national crisis.” ―Christian Science Monitor
“A gripping read and hard-hitting account of a ubiquitous plague that has flown under the radar.” ―Portland Business Journal
“Quinones's absorbing narrative is deep in research, on-site reporting, personal interviews and insight. Spanning the central U.S. and crossing the Mexican border, Dreamland adroitly unsnarls the tangled business that feeds a growing lust for chemical euphoria and relief.” ―Shelf Awareness
"Every so often I read a work of narrative nonfiction that makes me want to get up and preach: Read this true story! Such is Sam Quinones’ astonishing work of reporting and writing, Dreamland: the True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic." ―Seattle Times
“Everybody should read this book. Everybody.” ―Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
“An important frame of reference for understanding America’s opiate epidemic.” ―Portland Press Herald
"[A] powerful investigation into the explosion of heroin abuse in suburban America that combines skillful reporting and strong research with a superb narrative." ―The Spectator
Top Customer Reviews
On the other side of the coin, I have suffered from Fibromyalgia for sixteen years and the premise that pain can be controlled solely by physical therapy, nutrition, counseling, acupuncture without medication is bunk. It might help in the short run, but at the end of the day you are still in pain. Only those who have chronic pain can fully understand what others in chronic pain are going through. I do not take Oxycontin because when it was given to me as a trial I recognized its potential to be a problem, I had the unwanted and unneeded euphoria and after it wears off the pain is +1000 than what it was before. I chose to stick with my regular medication, tramadol. As much as I definitely agree that the wild and irresponsible prescribing of opioids needed some strong checking, unless you have lived a day in the life of someone who is in terrible pain, denying pain control is a cruelty in my humble opinion. Not everyone who needs pain medications is taking them for recreational fun. If Big Pharma or pain doctors came out with something that could ease pain that has no interest to those merely looking for a buzz, believe me a lot of us would gladly use it.
The author has done brave work -- the Waltons, Pharmacy execs, and the cartels will not be happy readers.
There are many other lessons in the book, including the fact that the Xalisco boys from Mexico who fanned the heroin epidemic across the country were by in large peaceful purveyors, treating their customers (and everyone else) well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written about a topic - Opioid addiction - that is epidemic in the U.S.Published 1 hour ago by J. Murray
This is truly an epidemic in our country. As a medical professional, I see this everyday. This should be required reading for all of us.Published 12 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Quite a story behind how opiate addiction has taken a strangle hold, not just among minorities and poor, but also the well-off white suburbs. Read morePublished 13 hours ago by Benjamin Davis
The book was enlighting and powerful on the heroin epidemic here in the USA. The writer know what he was talking about on this topic and fid his research.Published 14 hours ago by Michelle Gardenier
Most informative. Lets you understand the real reasons behind the addiction crisis we are facing today.Published 2 days ago by jimmy the red
Fascinating combination of facts, history, and anecdotes told in a style that made one unable to put it down, much like a good mystery! Read morePublished 2 days ago by PTM
A very comprehensive study of the current opioid and heroin epidemics in middle and upper clas America. Read morePublished 3 days ago by DJ 815
This is such a great story to read if you or someone you know is going thru this. Don't miss this story.Published 4 days ago by Donna G.
Very interesting. Teaches the background of how this black tar heroin became such common place in our society.Published 6 days ago by Kathy Pickens