Review: Dreamland (YA Edition) by Sam Quinones

Dreamland the True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (YA Edition)
Sam Quinones
Bloomsbury YA
Published July 16, 2019

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

About Dreamland (YA Edition)

As an adult book, Sam Quinones’s Dreamland took the world by storm, winning the NBCC Award for General Nonfiction and hitting at least a dozen Best Book of the Year lists. Now, adapted for the first time for a young adult audience, this compelling reporting explains the roots of the current opiate crisis. 

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland. Quinones explains how the rise of the prescription drug OxyContin, a miraculous and extremely addictive painkiller pushed by pharmaceutical companies, paralleled the massive influx of black tar heroin–cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico’s west coast, independent of any drug cartel.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters–pharmaceutical pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, teens, and parents–Dreamland is a revelatory account of the massive threat facing America and its heartland.

Dreamland on Goodreads

My Review

If you’re looking for a book that explains how the opiate epidemic started and why it became such a pervasive problem, DREAMLAND is the right book. The author explores the issue from all sides, from the actions of a pharmaceutical company to pill mill doctors to some stories of people who became addicted or saw opportunities to capitalize on the addictions of others.

As I read, each new chapter revealed more and more disturbing truths. So many failures at so many levels allowed this problem to take hold and explode across communities across the country.

DREAMLAND doesn’t link to this, but I recently saw a news report from a Washington Post reporter who was part of an effort to publish a database showing how many prescription pain pills were distributed to different counties in the US. I looked up my own county and was pretty much floored by the total number. I suppose I should have been less surprised since Quinones does point out in DREAMLAND that 9 of 10 of the top prescribing counties in the US during the peak of the pill mill problem were counties in Florida.

I definitely recommend DREAMLAND to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how we got here and why the opioid epidemic happened in the first place.

Dreamland on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used infrequently

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Quinones follows a church-based addiction recovery program.

Violent Content

Drug Content
Obviously this book contains references to drug abuse. It doesn’t contain graphic scenes showing characters abusing drugs, but gives a lot of information about how drugs were trafficked. One person Quinones describes was raised by an alcoholic, abusive father.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog. I received a free copy of DREAMLAND in exchange for my honest review.

Tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 Responses to Review: Dreamland (YA Edition) by Sam Quinones

  1. Crom Rehab says:

    This is a great review! Thank you very much!

  2. This is a really sad but interesting topic. I saw a special report on This Week Tonight with John Oliver where he talks about the manufacturer of the drug and how they would push sales of it very hard. That company has recently filed for bankruptcy because of all the lawsuits that have been brought against them.

    I would like to know more, and this book sounds like the place to learn it.


    Wayne Walls