Emily Witt at the LRB:
The horror of a video showing a toddler tugging at her mother’s unconscious form in a supermarket conveys more easily the horror of the corruption, avarice, poverty and stupidity that created the problem in the first place. How this happened – how the number of deaths from opiate overdoses increased by a factor of six in the US between 1999 and 2017 – is the subject of several recent books. Dopesick, by Beth Macy, describes the effects of opiate use in Appalachia, where she worked as a newspaper reporter. Dreamland, by Sam Quinones, describes the rise of a super-efficient network of dealers of Mexican black tar heroin in the US and its effects on one particular town in Ohio. American Overdose, by Chris McGreal, a correspondent for the Guardian, offers a more detailed view of the corruption that enabled the spread of opiates to go unchecked by the healthcare industry, government or law enforcement.