Two weeks from today, my third book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury Press), is officially released.
The story of this epidemic involves shoelaces, rebar, Levi’s 501s, cellphones, football, Walmart, American prosperity, with marketing, with Mexican poverty and social competition, and with the biggest swimming pool in the US and what happened when that was destroyed.
It’s about the marketing of prescription pills as a solution to pain of all kinds, and about a small town in Mexico where young men have devised a system for retailing heroin across America like it was pizza.
The tale took me from Appalachia to suburbs in Southern California, into one of the biggest drug-abuse stories of our time – and one of the quietest, and whitest as well.
I’m here in Youngstown, Ohio. A tough-looking town that appears to have been through a lot.
Apparently the town once had miles and miles of steel mills. That’s gone.
Just interviewed a Mexican trafficker who told me that the guys from his town back home sent hundreds of guys to the US to retail heroin like pizza.
In time, they’d saturate a market and so the heroin pioneers in that market would move on to other places and thus, over the years, they expanded. They’re now in 20 states and cresting on the new markets for their dope created by the waves of addiction to Oxycontin, which contains a drug molecularly almost identical to heroin.
It’s all part of the next book I’m trying to get done.