Common Readings

Spring 2019 Common Reading Book:

March 15, 2018

Dopesick

                                               by Beth Macy

As part of a month of colloquium focused on the Opioid Crisis, we will be discussing the book Dopesick:  Dealers, Doctors and The Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy.

An instant New York Times and indie bestseller, Dopesick is the only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in America: “a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency” (New York Times) from a bestselling author and journalist who has lived through it
 

In this masterful work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.

Beginning with a single dealer who lands in a small Virginia town and sets about turning high school football stars into heroin overdose statistics, Macy endeavors to answer a grieving mother’s question-why her only son died-and comes away with a harrowing story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy parses how America embraced a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the same distressed communities featured in her bestselling book Factory Man, the unemployed use painkillers both to numb the pain of joblessness and pay their bills, while privileged teens trade pills in cul-de-sacs, and even high school standouts fall prey to prostitution, jail, and death.
Through unsparing, yet deeply human portraits of the families and first responders struggling to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But in a country unable to provide basic healthcare for all, Macy still finds reason to hope-and signs of the spirit and tenacity necessary in those facing addiction to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Hear an NPR interview with the author here:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/08/21/640530842/dispatches-from-a-dopesick-america

Or read an interview here by the Los Angeles Review of Books:

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/addicted-america-an-interview-with-beth-macy/#!

Available on Amazon for $14.99

Other Suggested Readings:

5 Minute Reads:

Longer Reads:

American Psychological Association Guidelines:

Video Clips:

Books:

Podcasts:

  • Code SwitchEver find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get…stuck? Code Switch can help. We’re all journalists of color, and this isn’t just the work we do. It’s the lives we lead. Sometimes, we’ll make you laugh. Other times, you’ll get uncomfortable. But we’ll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us.

  • Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A monthly podcast featuring Tanzila ‘Taz’ Ahmed and Zahra Noorkbakhsh about the good and the bad about the American Muslim female experience.

  • About Race: Co-discussants Anna HolmesBaratunde ThurstonRaquel Cepeda and Tanner Colby host a lively multiracial, interracial conversation about the ways we can’t talk, don’t talk, would rather not talk, but intermittently, fitfully, embarrassingly do talk about culture, identity, politics, power, and privilege in our pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America.

  • Latino USA: Listen on SoundCloudiTunes or Stitcher for Latino-focused episodes ranging from current events like Donald Trump kicking Jorge Ramos out of his press conference, “anchor babies” and Mexico’s drug war to evergreen cultural pieces spotlighting music and artists from Latin America or, of course, the Latino USA.

  • Still Processing: This podcast from The New York Times is hosted by Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham. They cover all your pop culture favorites, from RuPaul to Girls to Beyoncé. You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and if that lineup of topics doesn’t sell you on the show, Morris and Wortham’s fun, natural banter will.

  • The Bodcast: The first season of the show by Bustle focused primarily on size and how it intersects with race and gender. This second season, they’re asking questions that push the body positive conversation beyond size. Check out “The Bodcast” on ACast and iTunes.

  • Intersection: This podcast is from The New Republic, hosted by Jamil Smith. The podcast is centered on race, but always explores the intersectionality of racial identity with other social systems such as gender, sexual orientation, body image and beauty standards, economic issues, etc. Often featuring interviews with various experts, researchers, journalists, and real everyday people, Intersection is a really important look at the way racial identity fits into a much larger social landscape.

  • Another Round: Two hilarious (and occasionally drunk) women talk about everything from current events to workplace racism to squirrels in this BuzzFeed podcast.

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