American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts

American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts

by Chris McGreal

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Overview

A comprehensive portrait of a uniquely American epidemic — devastating in its findings and damning in its conclusions

The opioid epidemic has been described as "one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine." But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world's opioid painkillers.

Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it.

The starting point for McGreal's deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of "drug dealers in white coats."

A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry's coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers — resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541742758
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/24/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 425,859
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Chris McGreal is a reporter for the Guardian and former journalist at the BBC. He was the Guardian's correspondent in Johannesburg, Jerusalem and Washington DC, and now writes from across the United States.

He has won several awards including for his reporting of the genocide in Rwanda, coverage of Israel/Palestine, and for writing on the impact of economic recession in modern America. He received the James Cameron prize for "work as a journalist that has combined moral vision and professional integrity". He was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for reporting that "penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth".

He is a former merchant seaman.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: An Epidemic Foretold xi

Act I Dealing

Chapter 1 The Undertaker 3

Chapter 2 Junk Science 14

Chapter 3 Pilliamson 29

Chapter 4 The Sales Pitch 39

Chapter 5 What They Knew 49

Chapter 6 Investigation 65

Chapter 7 Vital Sign 79

Act II Hooked

Chapter 8 A Loaded Gun in the Suicide Ward 99

Chapter 9 Paying to Play 114

Chapter 10 Pursuit 132

Chapter 11 The Silence 145

Chapter 12 Pushback 162

Chapter 13 Sounding the Alarm 175

Chapter 14 Kermit 187

Chapter 15 A Free Pass 204

Chapter 16 The End of Days 217

Act III Withdrawal

Chapter 17 The Public Health 231

Chapter 18 Russian Roulette 247

Chapter 19 Dodging Torpedoes 262

Chapter 20 The National Nightmare 269

Chapter 21 Guilt 286

Epilogue: "Huge Consequence for This" 293

Timeline 309

Notes 315

Index 321

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