A Summer Read

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Every summer Lebanon County and surrounding counties’ libraries participate in A Summer Read, a reading initiative for adults that runs from June through September. Each year this health literacy campaign selects a title to read and support with special programming.

The sixth annual Summer Read is Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones.

About the Book

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America–addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.

Acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two riveting tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been a catastrophic opiate epidemic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive–extremely addictive–miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin–cheap, potent, and originating from one small county, Xalisco, Nayarit, on Mexico’s west coast and independent of any drug cartel, assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Finally, though, Quinones finds hope in the same Rust Belt river town that led the country into the opiate epidemic – Portsmouth, Ohio, where townspeople are turning away from dependence and toward economic as well as municipal self-reliance, and, with that, recovery. Introducing a memorable cast of characters–pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents –Quinones shows how these tales fit together.

Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.

Borrow this title from your local library.  A limited number of copies of this title are also available for free at the library on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, visit the author’s website.

This is a collaboration of WITF Transforming Health, PennState Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and WellSpan Health System.