Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

by Sam Quinones


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Winner of the NBCC Award for General Nonfiction

Named on Amazon's Best Books of the Year 2015—Michael Botticelli, U.S. Drug Czar (Politico) Favorite Book of the Year—Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize Economics (Bloomberg/WSJ) Best Books of 2015—Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky (WSJ) Books of the Year—Slate.com's 10 Best Books of 2015—Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2015 —Buzzfeed's 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015—The Daily Beast's Best Big Idea Books of 2015—Seattle Times' Best Books of 2015—Boston Globe's Best Books of 2015—St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Best Books of 2015—The Guardian's The Best Book We Read All Year—Audible's Best Books of 2015—Texas Observer's Five Books We Loved in 2015—Chicago Public Library's Best Nonfiction Books of 2015

From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma to main streets nationwide, an explosive and shocking account of addiction in the heartland of America.

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America—addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.

With a great reporter's narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma's campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive—extremely addictive—miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin—cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico's west coast, independent of any drug cartel—assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters—pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents—Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620402528
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 17,727
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Sam Quinones is a journalist, author and storyteller whose two acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration made him, according to the SF Chronicle Book Review, "the most original writer on Mexico and the border."

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Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gives insight on the epidemic of opiates invading our homes our children and this Country. The secrets that are finally waking up our society and fighting against addiction. Addiction is a disease and we need more support for our addicts.
WorldReader1111 More than 1 year ago
'Dreamland' is, in my opinion, an exceptional piece of literature, as to earn it a rare five-star rating from me. The book is, first, very well-written, with effective formatting and a clear, poignant voice. Likewise, the text's many threads are woven into an intelligent and engaging narrative, in time combining into a collective mosaic that's greater than the sum of its parts. Furthermore, 'Dreamland' is written with heart, objectivity, and focus; the author manages to capture the opiate issue's many sides and perspectives, while remaining largely impartial and inclusive. Plus, the book is extensively researched, with much of the source material coming from firsthand fieldwork on the author's part (rather than, say, information "recycled" from public records or a Google search). From a literary perspective, the book is polished and successful, as well as relevant, sober, and easy to read -- a feat in itself, as it were. However, the book is just as substantial in content, for 'Dreamland' is far more than an account of the North American opiate epidemic. Rather, the book touches on a great many individual subjects, either by association or contextual necessity, and every one of them is as important, raw, and fascinating as the opiate issue (or, so they were for me). In the end, 'Dreamland' touches on the whole of the human experience, more or less, from economics to history to psychology to ethics, to the physical to the emotional to the institutional, from the big to the small, the hopeless to the hopeful -- all brimming with worldly knowledge and practical lessons, if read with the right eye. In my case, I especially enjoyed the dissection of the nature of pain itself, and the chapters detailing the Xalisco dealers' side of things (which, for me, broadened my perspective without being distorted or overly sympathetic, as to facilitate true understanding). In the book's exhaustive examinations, we are treated to much food-for-thought; though, if there's one takeaway in this regard, it is the ultimate complexity of the USA's drug issues. When seen in total, the book paints a tricky picture of the situation, in which the responsibility is so distributed and so widely shared, and the intentions so often good (if not very well planned), and the consequences so obscure and nuanced as to be largely unforeseen, that it's very hard to point a finger at any one culprit (at least, without that blame somehow, in some measure, returning to oneself). Our general responsibility is, perhaps, indirect and undesired, as to be innocent in intention if not result; but, we remain responsible, all the same. Once I'd finished 'Dreamland,' I felt truly informed, on myself and the greater world as much as the book's overt subject matter. My sincere thanks goes out to this book's author, subjects, and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
Pseudandry 10 months ago
Book Review: Dreamland (YA edition) by Sam Quinones Publication Date: July 16, 2019 read courtesy of netgalley.com You know how there are One School, One Book or One City, One Book campaigns? Well, Dreamland (YA edition) by Sam Quinones should be a candidate for One Country, One Book. It's that good and that meaningful. I'm going to try to find a way to get as many people as I can at my high school to read this. Quinones does an amazing job of clearly explaining a vast amount of research, of pulling all of the information together in a hugely accessible manner. Quinones has reinforced my already-existing tendency to question everything - which under some circumstances can be quite annoying, but in this instance is well justified. From a worldwide organization to the smallest home towns, Quinones pieced together the story of an epidemic. Quinones addresses the metamorphosis of communities, societies, people, families, borders, industries, professions, and policies all under the influence of opioids. The author smoothly discusses the human effects as well as the business prowess associated with OxyContin and heroin. The confluence of events that created the perfect storm of addiction and death is astonishing, and Quinones provided a way for everyone to understand how it happened... and unfortunately is still happening. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as an independent read or as a curriculum connection in a psychology, sociology, economics, marketing, biology, or health class.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should be required reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dreamland painted a dark portion of our history very well. It is so discouraging to think that this pizza delivery model of heroin/ black tar remains so prevalent. What a horrific problem to confront ! It was described very well. Now all communities must work together to educate the public and to eradicate black tar so our citizens can be more normal and our children's brains can develop correctly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well done highly recommend