From the Author
I first heard the term "diversion"from a member of the Justice Department's DEA Diversion Control Divisions peaking at a Killer Nashville conference. I believe it was the 2015 conference. When I walked out of her presentation, I knew Diversion was going to be my next book.
While Diversion started with my conference attendance, it was shaped by events and conditions over the next two years as I wrote the story. During that time, concern over the misuse of powerful opioid pain medication grew to the point that it became a national health crisis. New England teenagers were stealing storm drains to get money to buy their Percocet. The list of syndromes and mental disorders that are explanations for addiction had gotten longer. The government was paying for our drugs, and doctors became more liberal about prescribing them. There was a growing army of doctors and pharmacists whose loyalty was to the dollar rather than the Hippocratic oath. All of this was occurring in an environment where technology increasingly exposed us--removing privacy as an option. And terrorist plots continued to pop-up, desensitizing us, no matter how terrible, to their ever-present occurrence. That is the world I write about in Diversion.
People with a destructive addiction are searching to fill some void in their lives. And,as illustrated in Diversion, they are as likely to become addicted to alcohol as they are to opioids. In writing Diversion,I set out to show the corrupting impact of opioid misuse on human behavior. At the same time, I wanted to make clear that there is a difference between medical dependence and destructive addiction. I also wanted to show the difference between pill mills doling out prescriptions for cash and responsible doctors and pain management clinics treating patients dealing with chronic pain. While it wasimportant to show the comorbidity between mental disorders and opioid addiction, I wanted to also convey that even the extraordinary can fall victim to these drugs. Finally, I wanted to recognize the national scope of the opioid drug problem, but at the same time emphasize the impact on the community. To draw that connection between national scope and local impact, I open the story in New England, quickly move it to the south, to Florida, and then let the two continental extremes, north and south, meet in "small town" Middle Tennessee.