Summary of Dreamland

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9 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

10 Style


In the United States, medical beliefs about treating pain shifted near the end of the 20th century toward greater use of OxyContin and other opiates. “Pill mills” proliferated as doctors wrote opiate prescriptions without closely examining patients. As journalist Sam Quinones reports, the opiate  epidemic left America vulnerable to Mexican heroin. A network of heroin cells called the Xalisco Boys operates like a pizza-delivery business. It employs courteous, well-groomed Mexicans who sell “tiny quantities” of heroin to buyers who phone for home delivery. These cells and the proliferation of pain clinics generated widespread addiction. In 2012, opiates led to more unintended deaths in the US than deaths due to vehicular accidents. getAbstract recommends Quinones’s saga of how pharma companies and heroin dealers produced the deadliest drug scourge in American history to anyone interested in addiction, the politics that surround it and the fight against it.

In this book, you will learn

  • What led to the explosion of Mexican heroin sales in affluent, mostly white US communities;
  • How a relaxation of medical standards for pain relief unleashed an epidemic of opiate addiction in the United States; and 
  • Why addiction to heroin and to painkillers like OxyCotin became mutually reinforcing and reduced certain communities to drug-based economies.

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