Back in 2014, the opioid epidemic that has been plaguing the United States resulted in approximately 30,000 deaths. Even car accidents that had occurred in 16 different states were outnumbered by overdose deaths. Sam Quinones, who was formerly a Los Angeles Times reporter, unearths the history of the heroin and opioid epidemic in his book, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.” The book also exposes the forces that that served as a catalyst for the crisis to worsen to such an extent.
When Sam had started research for the book, he assumed that the book would simply end up uncovering addiction and drugs, and the criminals that are the link between them. However, the discoveries that he made were considerably more complex. Since Sam is a crime reporter, he assumed that he was writing about crime. However, he realized that he was actually writing about the various ways in which the American community has been getting demolished over the past 35 years. Of course, those ways include the opiate epidemic.
Sam was recently attended a meeting of CHOICES by the anti-addiction coalition of Guernsey County. He agreed that numerous factors have contributed toward this epidemic. However, he also added that the quintessential issue is that the community is no longer united and that has collectively rejected personal accountability.
He also pinpointed the economic decline of community as another factor. According to him, when factories shut down, people no longer have access to the civic amenities and jobs. He claims that when locally-owned businesses shut down and jobs are no longer available, it contributes towards retreating from communal interaction, which can apparently worsen into personal isolation.
Sam thinks that it is ironic that physicians have inadvertently and unintentionally made the task easier for drug traffickers, in most cases. Somehow, these physicians managed to fall under the misconception that people would not end up getting addicted to opioid-based medications. However, all of the blame does not go to the physicians. The physicians somewhat had no choice but to act because of the people who were not willing to have some accountability for their own health. Rather than being conscious and heedful about taking care of their health, these people actively consumed unhealthy foods and partook in unhealthy habits. Consequently, once they end suffered from health problems, they expected their physicians to restore their health.
Sam is right that people these days want things to be fixed as quickly as and in the shortest time possible. People think their bodies are automobiles and doctors are mechanics, so supposedly doctors are capable of and responsible for fixing their bodies. He believes that isolation has been thriving because the concept of community is gradually diminishing and people no longer feel responsible for their actions.
Sam elaborated that heroin and opiates are drugs that create and flourish on isolation, forcing addicts to retreat into themselves, which apparently explains why the epidemic has been growing. Thus, it all comes down to how this drug epidemic could be eradicated. According to Sam Quinones, the community itself needs to be rebuilt, with a wide range of private and public groups collaborating with each other. He also believes that personal and public accountability needs to be reestablished.