At first glance, Dreamland – Sam Quinones’s expose on the opiate epidemic that’s destroying rural America – seems like a terrible beach read. And yet, on more than one occasion this summer, I’ve found myself sitting by the water with a drink in one hand and this book in the other. Despite its tragic and at times infuriating nature, Quinones does what good journalists do: he tells a story, and a captivating and compelling one at that. So as strange as this sounds, reading Dreamland was a surprisingly pleasant experience.
It was also an (unsurprisingly) educational experience. Quinones spent years doing hands-on, in-person research for this book. Facts and statistics stand to support the evidence unearthed through hundreds of conversations, interviews, and anecdotes told by doctors, judges, coroners, activists, dealers, junkies, addiction experts, DEA agents, cops, district attorneys, and onlookers who watched people, families, and communities crumble over the last several decades. Dreamland brings together people who will likely never meet, and who have nothing in common except that they’ve been impacted by the opiate epidemic. Continue reading →