'Dreamland' paints a haunting picture of heroin in America

'Dreamland' by Sam Quinones
'Dreamland' by Sam Quinones
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread recommends a book that offers a fresh perspective on the news.

I was halfway through Sam Quinones's stunning book, "Dreamland," when President Obama flew to Atlanta to declare his support for more comprehensive addiction treatment.

Drug overdose-related deaths have been rising, and the abuse of opioids is widespread. In 2014, 47,055 people died from overdoses in the U.S. — the highest number on record.

Quinones knows the story well. As he chronicles the explosion of prescription drug abuse, and how it so often leads to heroin abuse, he writes that its victims were "the daughters of preachers, the sons of cops and doctors ... the children of contractors and teachers and business owners and bankers."

"Dreamland" is extraordinary for its scope and depth. Quinones takes us to a small town in Mexico that sends its sons north to deal heroin, and to cities like Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; Columbus, Ohio; and Minneapolis that seem to have an unquenchable thirst for it.

Quinones doesn't let prescription drugs companies or "pill mill" doctors off the hook, either.

I'm looking forward to interviewing Quinones on April 28, and digging further into this pressing issue.

Tell me what you're reading on Twitter @KerriMPR.

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