Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones


“One way to view all that had happened was as some enormous experiment to see how many Americans had the propensity for addiction.”

Dreamland is an important book. Today, in America, there is an opiate epidemic. People are using, overdosing and dying. Families are broken. The foster care system is backlogged. Narcan is being stocked at schools and hospitals are running out of doses. How did the country get to this point.

A friend of mine recommended Dreamland to me and I am now recommending it to any adult I encounter. The author goes over the history of how heroin started being easily distributed throughout the country – and it all ties to a small city in Mexico. The author is a journalist and has done research and turned it into an easy-to-understand primer on how we know have an opiate epidemic.

There’s not just one factor that led America to its current crisis. The economy went south in many towns. Pill mills started opening and “doctors” made a lot of money writing prescriptions, including kickbacks from the pharmaceutical companies. Medicaid made it easy to fill a prescription that could then be sold on the market for a major profit. People from a small town in Mexico created a way to sell drugs by delivering small amounts like pizza delivery drivers. It all collided to a society where hardly any family doesn’t know someone affected by the drug epidemic.

While the book doesn’t lay out a solution to the crisis, it does help by laying out the causes and letting people know where the actual problems lie. It gives the framework for a discussion on how much should the pharmaceutical companies be held accountable, how the prescription laws could change and how rehab needs to be a long-term process to succeed.

I highly recommend this book to any and every adult. It wouldn’t be bad for mature high schoolers either. The more we know the better we can fight this crisis and help not only America, but also the people in our own lives.

Do you know of someone affected by the opiate crisis? What conditions might have helped them avoid the drugs? Comment below!

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.