Beyond 'Dopesick': Recommendations

A selection informational books and videos about the Opioid Crisis available through the Oak Lawn Public Library.

A selection informational books and videos about the Opioid Crisis available through the Oak Lawn Public Library.

Nonfiction Books about the Opioid Crisis in America

Hampton, Ryan. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis--And How to End It. 2018. Nonfiction.
Hampton, an addict, discusses the current recovery movement and its challenges, and offers a concrete plan for ending the addiction crisis.

Lembke, Anna. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray Drug Dealer, M.D.: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It's So Hard To Stop. 2016. Nonfiction.
Coming at the opioid crisis from the medical side, Lembke discusses the role doctors have played in the opioid crisis, and how doctors understand and (fail to) treat addiction.

Macy, Beth. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America. 2018. Nonfiction.
Primarily set in the distressed Heartland of the opioid epidemic—Central Appalachia—Macy weaves together the stories of people touched by and involved in the crisis, illuminating how unsparing this epidemic is.

Meier, Barry. Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America's Opioid Epidemic. 2018. Nonfiction.
Originally published in 2003, this second edition of the book includes more information from Meier’s long investigation into the opioid epidemic, including corporate malfeasance, the Justice Department’s inability to act, and the trajectory of the tragedy.

Mitchell, Tracey Helton. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray The Big Fix: Hope after Heroin. 2016. Nonfiction.
A memoir that covers both addiction and recovery; Mitchell also discusses the failings of the current rehab system and how it might be changed to be successful.

Quinones, Sam. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic. 2015. Nonfiction.
From Mexico to Ohio, Quinones traces two drug stories: the story of black tar heroin, and the story of OxyContin. Through stellar reporting, and deft weaving, the two stories begin to fit together to tell the story of the Opioid Epidemic.

Reider, Travis. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids. 2019. Nonfiction.
A bioethicist's memoir of opioid dependence and withdrawal exposes the American health care system's failures at managing the use of opioids for pain relief and reveals the lack of resources and structures to handle the nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction.

Wachs, Stephanie Wittels. Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss. 2018. Nonfiction.
An extremely personal look at what it’s like to live through addiction and loss; Wachs tries to make sense of her brother Harris’s brilliance and his addiction, and of her own grief.


Fiction and Young Adult Fiction about Opioids and Addiction

Buntin, Julie. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray Marlena. 2017. Fiction.
When lonely fifteen-year-old Cat meets the alluring, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena, her life in rural Michigan becomes exciting and tragic. A story of female friendship and addiction, Buntin’s debut novel Marlena looks at the toll of preventable loss and the way it shapes us.

Dodds, Melanie. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray Little Pills. 2019. Young Adult Fiction.
Written in verse, Little Pills takes a sympathetic look at the opioid crisis, illustrating how slowly, but surely, young people can slip into the grips of addiction without realizing it.

Donaldson, Jesse. The More They Disappear. 2016. Fiction.
Set in the late 90’s, deputy Harlan Dupee must investigate the murder of a sheriff, which leads to the OxyContin scene in rural Kentucky. A look inside small-town drug abuse, addiction, loss and the violence that came after OxyContin’s release.

Keller, Julia. A Killing in the Hills. 2012. Fiction.
This mystery takes place in Appalachia, in a state that remains hard-hit by the Opioid Epidemic—West Virginia. Bell Elkins, a prosecuting attorney, has to deal with a triple murder—of three elderly men—that her teenage daughter witnesses. Is it random—or is it drug violence?

Krosoczka, Jarrett. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray Hey, Kiddo. 2018. Graphic Novel.
A 2018 National Book Award Finalist, Hey, Kiddo, depicts life growing up with a parent who is an addict. Timely and important, the graphic novel makes the story accessible to a younger audience while simultaneously illustrating the importance of support and recognition in the face of a crisis.

McGinnis, Mindy. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray Heroine. 2019. Young Adult Fiction.
When Mickey, a high school athlete, is prescribed pain killers after an injury, she sees them as an avenue to get back on the softball field, the one place she feels she belongs. But, in recovery, the pills loosen her tongue, making it easier to make friends, begin to make her feel good. When pressure in her life increases, her want for that good feeling increases to need, and her relationship with opioids spirals out of control.

Walker, Nico. Image was uploaded when editing content by: Mary Kate Murray Cherry. 2018. Fiction.
Inspired by his own life, this work of autofiction is about an Iraqi medic who returns to the Midwest ravaged by the Opioid Epidemic. In the throes of addiction, the narrator and his girlfriend turn to bank robbing to pay for drugs.

Movies and Documentaries about the Opioids and Addiction

The Great Courses. “The Science of Poppies, Pleasure, and Pain.” The Addictive Brain. 2015. DVD and Streaming .
The series covers the neuroscience of addiction as a whole, and episode 10, specifically, examines the neurological effects of and treatment options for opiates. Available on Kanopy. (Not Rated)

Hedges, Peter. Ben is Back. 2019. DVD.
Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges), a drug-addicted teenager, shows up unexpectedly to visit his family on Christmas Eve. His wary mother (Julia Roberts) welcomes him, but after finding out he's still in danger, she must to do everything she can to help her family. This film is being screened at the Oak Lawn Library on October 16, 2019. Click this link for more information on the program. (Rated R)

Heller, Buck. Chasing It. 2015. DVD.
The explosion of heroin and other opiate abuse has affected more than those in Hollywood; this documentary tells the story of those affected and why heroin use has such a devastating reach. (Rated TV-14)

Marson, Eve. Dr. Feelgood: Dealer or Healer? 2016. DVD.
Examines the case of Dr. William Hurwitz, a pain specialist sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for drug trafficking as a result of prescribing highly addicting opioid painkillers. (Rated TV-14)

McMillion Sheldon, Elaine. Heroin(e). 2017. Streaming.
Three women -- a fire chief, a judge and a missionary -- battle West Virginia's opioid epidemic. This film is being screened at the Oak Lawn Library on October 3, 2019. Click this link for more information on the program. Available on Netflix. (Rated TV-14)

PBS. Understanding the Opioid Epidemic. 2018. DVD.
This PBS special originally broadcast in 2017 captures the story of the opioid crisis through personal stories and interviews with experts and reveals the tragic impact of the overuse of prescription painkillers on individuals, families, and communities. (Rated TV-14)

Wiland, Harry. Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic. 2019. Streaming.
Narrated by Ed Harris, this four-part documentary mini-series is a close-up examination of the opioid epidemic and who must be held accountable. Available on Kanopy. (Rated TV-14)


Created by Mary Kate Murray on Aug 13th, 2019 @ 4:55 PM.
Updated on Oct 28th, 2019 @ 4:23 PM.