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American Overdose

American Overdose

The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts

A comprehensive portrait of a uniquely American epidemic–devastating in its findings and damning in its conclusions

The opioid epidemic has been described as “one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.” But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world’s opioid painkillers.
Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it.
The starting point for McGreal’s deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of “drug dealers in white coats.”
A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry’s coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers–resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Social Science / Disease & Health Issues

On Sale: November 13th 2018

Price: $14.99 / $18.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 336

ISBN-13: 9781541773776


The Making of an American Overdose


"American Overdose confirms Chris McGreal's stature as one of the truly essential reporters of our times. It is - in its investigative depth and documentary breadth - a riveting and urgent reckoning of colossal corruption that has taken such a staggering toll on twenty-first century American life."
Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families
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"In this gripping account, McGreal exposes the avarice and corruption that caused one of the most shocking crises in American history. A searing expose full of extraordinary characters - heroes, villains and victims."—Katty Kay, contributor MSNBC Morning Joe, presenter BBC World News America
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"McGreal shows how the overdose crisis was driven by the pursuit of profits, not just drugs-both of which combine our instinctive craving for pleasure with our evolving capacity for denial and deceit. Fascinating, disturbing, impressively researched and elegantly written."—Marc Lewis, author of The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease
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"With great reporting and compelling storytelling, American Overdose lays bare the tragedy of the opioid epidemic tearing at the soul of the United States. Those who want to understand the issue of narcotics and addiction have to read it."
Ioan Grillo, author of El Narco
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"A deftly researched account of America's opioid epidemic. McGreal's book is authoritative in tone and vernacular in style....[A] powerful narrative."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
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"This urgent, readable chronicle, which names names and pulls no punches, clearly and compassionately illuminates the evolution of America's mass addiction problem."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
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"McGreal, an award-winning journalist, presents this grim cautionary tale of opioids, greed, and addiction in three acts: 'Dealing,' 'Hooked,' and Withdrawal'.... McGreal goes on to successfully address the question of how the greatest drug epidemic in history grew largely unchecked for nearly two decades....What can be done to reverse this? McGreal's powerfully stated indictment is a start."—Booklist, Starred Review
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"Thorough, gripping and excellent."—--The Straight Dope,
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"[A] powerful encapsulation of that epidemic....a timely examination of hard-won lessons."—Nature
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"Staggering... Zola-esque in its dark twists and turns."—Ed Vulliamy, Literary Review
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"[A] searing book... Appalachian accents and anger steam off the page."—The Sunday Times
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"Compelling.... reads like a white-collar The Wire, with a cast of characters determined to exact as much money as possible regardless of the human cost."—The Observer
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"An engaging, cogently argued book."—Evening Standard
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Meet The Author: Chris McGreal

Chris McGreal is a reporter for the Guardian and former journalist at the BBC. He was the Guardian’s correspondent in Johannesburg, Jerusalem and Washington DC, and now writes from across the United States.

He has won several awards including for his reporting of the genocide in Rwanda, coverage of Israel/Palestine, and for writing on the impact of economic recession in modern America. He received the James Cameron prize for “work as a journalist that has combined moral vision and professional integrity”. He was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for reporting that “penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth”.

He is a former merchant seaman.

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In the News

NPR’s A1: Why Is The Opioid Epidemic Still Happening?

The statistics are staggering. And yet, we still are grappling with how to respond to the public health crisis. We’re also struggling with how to support those who are in treatment. Chris McGreal joins NPR's A1 to talk bout his new book AMERICAN OVERDOSE.
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The Guardian reviews, AMERICAN OVERDOSE.

If American progressives really want to fight populism, the battlefront is not going to be Brooklyn coffee bars or campus safe-spaces. Liberal America is going to have to look to the country’s interior and re-engage that large stratum of society that feels – because it has been – left behind.
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