From the New York Times bestselling author of Dreamland, a searing follow-up that explores the terrifying next stages of the opioid epidemic and the quiet yet ardent stories of community repair.
Sam Quinones traveled from Mexico to main streets across the U.S. to create Dreamland, a groundbreaking portrait of the opioid epidemic that awakened the nation. As the nation struggled to put back the pieces, Quinones was among the first to see the dangers that lay ahead: synthetic drugs and a new generation of kingpins whose product could be made in Magic Bullet blenders. In fentanyl, traffickers landed a painkiller a hundred times more powerful than morphine. They laced it into cocaine, meth, and counterfeit pills to cause tens of thousands of deaths-at the same time as Mexican traffickers made methamphetamine cheaper and more potent than ever, creating, Sam argues, swaths of mental illness and a surge in homelessness across the United States.
Quinones hit the road to investigate these new threats, discovering how addiction is exacerbated by consumer-product corporations. "In a time when drug traffickers act like corporations and corporations like traffickers," he writes, "our best defense, perhaps our only defense, lies in bolstering community." Amid a landscape of despair, Quinones found hope in those embracing the forgotten and ignored, illuminating the striking truth that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable.
Weaving analysis of the drug trade into stories of humble communities, The Least of Us delivers an unexpected and awe-inspiring response to the call that shocked the nation in Sam Quinones's award-winning Dreamland.
"Sam Quinones is the indispensable ground-level guide to the epidemics of addiction that plague so many Americans. In The Least of Us, the tales of despair are brightened by seeing communities beginning to adapt and regrow to fight the horror that besets them. Everyone should read this." --Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate in Economics and co-author of DEATHS OF DESPAIR
"With deep compassion and piercing insight, Sam Quinones beautifully captures the pain of America's opioid addiction and the gaping holes in society that allowed the tragedy to fester. He then not only offers condemnation of how we got here but true hope of how we can get out." -- Ioan Grillo, author of BLOOD GUN MONEY
"With The Least of Us, Sam Quinones continues to be the preeminent chronicler of the national opioid epidemic. By combining rigorous research, keen insight and listening to people's stories across the country, Sam has once again captured not only the pain and sadness but the resiliency and optimism that have come to be the hallmark of this epidemic." -- Michael Botticelli, Former Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
About our Speakers
Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of three acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction, including New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic. The most original writer on Mexico and the border (San Francisco Chronicle), he lives with his family in Southern California.
Ben Westhoff writes about culture, drugs, and poverty. He is the author of Original Gangstas, the definitive history of West Coast hip-hop, and Fentanyl, Inc. He has advised officials at the top levels of government about fentanyl, and continues to speak about the crisis at conferences across the country. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife and two kids.
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