This book was exactly what I expected it would be: a well-written, well-researched dive into the forces that combined to create the American opioid crisis. I knew the basic outline of those forces, but reading in depth was eye opening and I came away pretty angry. Basically big pharma, the FDA, and congress all had a greed fueled opiate money orgy and fucked over Americans in the process.
McGreal does a great job of organizing the massive amount of content and complex timeline into a digestible piece of work. He starts focused on the miners in coal country basically being hooked without knowing they were embarking on an addiction they wouldn’t be able to shake and how that was encouraged by doctors and pharmacies who wanted more money. Then from there he goes broader, talking about Purdue Pharma engineering the drug crisis and staying the course when it started to become clear that this was an epidemic. Add in a congress bought and paid for by big pharma and a FDA that didn’t do it’s job properly and you have millions of people addicted to opiates.
I think this book is a good starting point to learning more about the crisis since he does go so broad with his scope. I’m planning on reading Dopesick soon, but my sense is that it focuses in more on individuals and communities. I’ll be interested to see how they work together as slightly different looks at the same complex issue.