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Common Read - Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
Written with warmth, accessibility, and authority, "The Addiction Solution" is a practical guide through the world of drug use and abuse and addiction treatment. It brings together scientific and clinical knowledge, policy suggestions, and case studies to describe our current drug crisis and establish a clear path forward to recovery and health.
American Pain was a mega-clinic expressly created to serve addicts posing as patients. From a former bank building, doctors distributed massive quantities of oxycodone to hundreds of customers a day, mostly traffickers and addicts. Inked muscle-heads ran security. Former strippers operated the pharmacy. Under their lab coats, the doctors carried guns--and it was all legal. "American Pain" chronicles the rise and fall of this game-changing pill mill, and how it helped tip the nation into its current opioid crisis.
Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. In this book, his father, David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs, the rehabs, and how he researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic.
One of Johann Hari's earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of his relatives and not being able to. As he grew older, he realized he had addiction in his family. Confused, unable to know what to do, he set out on a three-year, 30,000-mile journey to discover what really causes addiction--and what really solves it. See also Hari's TED Talk on the "Rat Park Study and Opioids" page of this guide.
Courtwright offers an interpretation of a puzzling chapter in American history: the dramatic change in the pattern of opiate addiction from respectable upper-class matrons to lower-class urban males, often with a criminal record. Challenging the view that the shift resulted from harsh new laws, Courtwright shows that the crucial role was played by the medical rather than the legal profession. "Dark Paradise" tells the story not only from legal and medical sources, but also from the perspective of addicts themselves.
Three out of four people addicted to heroin probably started on a prescription opioid, according to the CDC. In the United States alone, 16,000 people die each year as a result of prescription opioid overdose. But perhaps the most frightening aspect of the prescription drug epidemic is that it's built on well-meaning doctors treating patients with real problems. In "Drug Dealer, MD," Dr. Anna Lembke uncovers the unseen forces driving opioid addiction nationwide.
Is drug addiction a disease that can be treated, or a crime that should be punished? Jennifer Murphy investigates the various perspectives on addiction, and how society has myriad ways of handling it--incarcerating some drug users while putting others in treatment. "Illness or Deviance?" highlights the confusion and contradictions about labeling addiction.
In "The Pain Chronicles," Melanie Thernstrom traces conceptions of pain throughout the ages to reveal the elusive, mysterious nature of pain itself. Interweaving first-person reflections on her own battle with chronic pain, reportage from leading-edge pain clinics and medical research, and insights from a wide range of disciplines--science, history, religion, philosophy, anthropology, literature, and art--Thernstrom shows that when dealing with pain we are neither as advanced as we imagine nor as helpless as we may fear.
Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he regularly smoked pot, did cocaine and Ecstasy, and developed addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery.
Barrett Meeks is walking through Central Park when he is inspired to look up at the sky; there he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. At the same time in Brooklyn, Tyler, Barrett's older brother, is trying--and failing--to write a wedding song for his fiance Beth, who is seriously ill. Barrett, haunted by the light, turns unexpectedly to religion. Tyler grows increasingly convinced that only drugs can release his creative powers.
Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer using and selling Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person. Substance D splits the mind in two, and neither side knows what the other is doing or that it even exists. In this novel, friends can become enemies, good trips can turn terrifying, and cops and criminals are two sides of the same coin.
One of the creative visionaries of the Beat movement recites the calculus by which heroin redefines the addict's world. Burroughs' quasi-autobiographical narrative makes for a raw, fragmented, and disturbing account of hallucinations, ghostly nocturnal wanderings, strange sexual encounters, and quests to ease the hunger for the needle. This is the legendary account of one man's challenge to turn self-destruction into art.