Monday, August 17, 2015

BOOK - Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

"How the ‘quietest’ drug epidemic has ravaged the U.S." PBS NewsHour 8/12/2015


SUMMARY:  Former Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones examines the dramatic surge of heroin use in the U.S. in his new book, "Dreamland:  The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic."  Quinones paints a graphic portrait of the national problem in a conversation with Jeffrey Brown.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Now the latest addition to the NewsHour Bookshelf.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin usage in the U.S. has doubled among young adults in the last decade and deaths have quadrupled.

Former Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones looks at what’s driving that surge in his new book, “Dreamland:  The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.”

He recently talked with Jeffrey Brown and painted a graphic portrait of a national problem.

SAM QUINONES, Author, “Dreamland:  The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic”:  This is the quietest epidemic, drug epidemic or drug scourge, we have ever had in this country, certainly in the last 50, 60 years.

No public violence is associated, not like crack, where the people were battling for street corners and this kind of thing.  People are dying alone in their bedrooms, in a McDonald’s bathroom.  And there’s no publicity.  Families are stigmatized, horribly mortified that their kids are addicted and then that their kids die of this stuff.

JEFFREY BROWN:  So, this came from reporting on the drug trade in Mexico and the U.S. What grabbed your attention?

SAM QUINONES:  Well, I discovered in the course of my reporting the story of one small town in Mexico on the Pacific Coast, where everybody in that town had migrated to the United States, had developed a system for selling heroin.

They were master heroin retailers in the United States, selling heroin like pizza, like delivery model.  And they had used this system to, first of all, employ hundreds of people in the town and spread across the country, so they were in like half the country.

What I also came to understand, though, was that they had this enormous market for heroin.  This one small town became one of the major suppliers of heroin to the United States.  That market was due entirely to a whole new supply of addicts who got addicted to prescription painkillers.

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