Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America

by Beth Macy

About the Book

Opioid addiction is now the deadliest drug epidemic in US history. The pain caused by prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl is felt across the country. More than 40,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2017 alone. Before opioid addiction made national headlines, it started in Appalachia as a story barely covered in the local news. Beth Macy was a reporter in Virginia at the time, making her an early witness to the crisis.

Dopesick tells the story of how the epidemic began, how it evolved, and why it became as large as it has. What makes this book powerful is the human face given to a large and complicated problem. Macy spent years interviewing the people involved, and their voices are clear—those struggling with addiction and their families, dealers that have caused harm, and the doctors and law enforcement fighting to stop the crisis. It is a complex and painful story with no end in sight, but there is hope. Dopesick gives direction on where to go from here.

About the Author

Beth Macy is a journalist and New York Times bestselling author of three books. Her reporting for The Roanoke Times led to the writing of Dopesick and earned her many national journalism awards including the Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard. Her previous book, Truevine, is a national bestseller that explores the non-fiction account of an African American mother in the Jim Crow South, whose two children were kidnapped by the circus, and the decades she spent in search of them.

Related Events

A Community Conversation on Facing the Opioid Epidemic

Thursday, August 22, 2019, 7:00 pm
Main Library – 111 Library St NE

Recently declared a national public health emergency, opioid-related deaths kill more people in Michigan than car accidents or firearms. Local responses range from providing police with tools that counteract overdoses to opening safe injection sites. Join the library, along with Dirt City Sanctuary, the Kent County Opioid Task Force, and The Red Project for an important community conversation. Learn how the opioid epidemic has taken shape locally and how we can work to tackle the growing epidemic in our community.

Naloxone (Narcan) Training

The Red Project offers Naloxone (also known as Narcan) training for free to individuals, family members, and friends who want to be prepared for a loved one who may be at risk. The prescription, a brief training, and the medication is provided on site by knowledgeable Red Project staff and volunteers. This training is presented in five different neighborhoods five days a week. For more information, contact Opioid Program Manager Megan Rocha-Adams at or 616.456.9063.