A devastating portrait of the opioid epidemic, a uniquely American and catastrophically lethal tragedy born of Congressional neglect, amplified by corporate greed, and brutally exploited by illegal drug cartels.
The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history; it results in 90 American deaths a day and has eviscerated communities across the country. It is a consequence of a healthcare system run as a business, one that prescribed drugs with unprecedented amounts of oxycodone to patients experiencing everything from toothaches to severe chronic pain. The practice created a culture of addiction in towns and cities from Florida to Maine and throughout Appalachia and the American West.
In American Overdose, Chris McGreal outlines the three main stories of the opioid epidemic: first, the negligent policies that allowed the greed and corruption of big pharma to profit off the suffering of their patients and new evidence on the FDA’s complicity in the matter; second, the widespread addiction that ravaged American towns and cities; and finally, the even more devastating arrival of the drug cartels who deliberately and catastrophically exploited the market for addiction that has been created.
Through the lives of doctors, addicts, policy-makers, pharmaceutical reps, and family members, McGreal tells two parallel stories: that of the rise of opioids in the healthcare system and the personal stories of those affected on the ground, joined in what a former member of the FDA has called “one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.”
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. Discover More