- Alisha Barnes
Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, by Sam Quinones, is a book about the rise in opiate addiction in America. Centers for Disease Control states that “91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.” Also, by 2008, drug overdoses surpassed car deaths as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
Many folks are struggling with opiate addiction, even in the Fredericksburg area. The Free Lance Star published an article on April 27, 2017, entitled “Officials Take Action to Combat Spike in Opioid Deaths.” Dreamland is a book that sheds light on the opiate addiction throughout America.
Quinones takes different routes to explain the causes of the epidemic. He interviews parents of victims, users, recovering addicts, drug dealers, doctors, and prosecutors in order to explain the rise in addiction and overdose deaths. In his efforts to provide information about addiction, Quinones used his background in journalism to contact unlikely sources to trace opiates from manufacturers in Nayarit, Mexico, to drug cells in cities throughout the United States and then to drug users themselves.
The book weaves together disparate facts to create a timeline of events with a humanistic approach that allows readers to understand the differing points of view of all involved in the crisis.
Dreamland also tells the stories of survivors of the opiate epidemic. One story told is of a mother, Jo Anna Krohn, who lost her son due to opiate addiction. At the time of his death, Jo Anna had another son who was still strung out. Seeing the young adults dying around her town, she decided to share her story.
Jo Anna also created a group named SOLACE, a parental anti-drug organization. She spoke at high schools and with other grieving parents, using her son’s tragedy to persuade others to avoid using opiates and to seek help with opiate addiction, while providing comfort to those whose lives were impacted by opiate abuse.
Quinones creates a truthful narrative of the epidemic by piecing together the puzzle of addiction. Parts of the book can be difficult; it is intended for mature audiences and details some cases of overdose death.
Dreamland will be of interest to anyone who is interested in public health issues and addiction causes and impacts, as well as those who know someone dealing with addiction.
The library has numerous resources concerning addiction, including:
Beyond Addiction by Jeffrey Foote
A guide for helping loved ones who are dealing with addiction.
Healing the Addicted Brain by Harold Urschel
Investigates the idea of treating addiction as a biological disease.
Thinking Simply About Addiction by Richard S. Sandor
Examines the complexity of addiction and provides advice for spiritual awakening to overcome addiction.