The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

Book - 2015
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Sam Quinones chronicles how, over the past 15 years, enterprising sugar cane farmers in a small county on the west coast of Mexico created a unique distribution system that brought black tar heroin-- the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, 2 to 3 times purer than its white powder cousin-- to the veins of people across the United States.
Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury Press, 2015.
ISBN: 9781620402504
Characteristics: xii, 368 pages : maps ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

A fascinating account of how a small town in Mexico was a major player in the spread of "black tar" heroin in the U.S.

2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

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May 01, 2018

I read this book to fulfil the goal read a book about a problem facing society today. it takes place near my hometown. it was definately differant to read the book and see that it is true because i can look right up the street to see real time examples. the book is written in a very easy to read style. although true it reads almost like a fiction book. unfortunately it is not.

Mar 19, 2018

This book brought home the sheer greed of pharmaceutical company executives. They are absolutely a government-supported drug cartel in many ways. Also very disturbing: the most devious of the doctors who wrote millions of opiate subscriptions to encourage addiction so that he could grow his wealth was a man named Dr. David Procter, who is a Canadian, who after 12 years in prison, was deported back to Canada and now lives in Toronto. I sure hope he is not practicing medicine here today. If so, it would be sheer negligence on the part of the Canadian government and medical association to allow this man to ever hold a prescription pad in his hand again.

Jan 05, 2018

JUly 2018

Aug 31, 2017

In the chapter "The Poppy" on page 55, he says that one of the brand names that the heroin dealers came up with in the 1970s was "Obamacare". What?? Obama was just a little kid in the 1970s.

Cynthia_N Apr 17, 2017

Quinones did a great job of bringing together the factors that created the current drug epidemic. I definitely have a solid understanding of how we got here. Slow read but so worth it!

Feb 26, 2017

I found this book tedious. He has a fascinating, alarming story to tell, but the book is constructed in seemingly random vignettes lacking structure. It becomes repetitive quickly.

Jul 30, 2016

Good storytelling. My only criticism is the lack of discussion about racism and classism.

Jul 25, 2016

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It's a good look at the opioid crisis in America and you will learn a lot

Nov 14, 2015

This was like the War and Peace of opiate addiction. To say Sam Q. needs an editor and an abridged version is like saying I'm not great in relationships. Kind of understated is all I'm saying. I get that your a journalist but you're no longer getting paid by the word. And we are adults so we get it the first time but he restated everything in every way imaginable. The best part of the book was Perdue Pharmacy's testimony that , "It's an extreme anti-opioid discriminatory animus or zealotry known as opiophobia that informs, permeates, and perniciously corrupts the development and management of public health policy." This, when attorneys attempted to point out that OxyContin might could be a liiiiittle addictive. It's hard to determine what's worse an attorney, Big Pharma exec or Monsanto. It was interesting though to read the inside scoop of the opiate explosion but I'd suggest the Cliff's Notes.

Oct 06, 2015

Describes how the marketing and widespread use of prescription pain killers has led to increased heroin use across the country.


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Jan 10, 2017

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