Bibliography 7

7. America’s current addiction crisis
(Oxycontin is made from thebaine, one of the key alkaloids, or active components, of the opium poppy) 

  • Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe, Doubleday, NY 2021. A riveting account of how a family of doctors founded a drug company built on exploiting the addictive potential of opiates.  The parallels with the strategies of the East India Company and the American patent medicine industry are remarkable. See David T. Courtwright’s Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World.
  • Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Companies that Addicted America, by Beth Macy, Little Brown & Company, 2019.  Macy’s book has also been made into a Hulu mini-series starring Michael Keaton, who took on his role after a nephew died from fentanyl and heroin addiction. In creating the character of Richard Sackler for the mini-series, actor Michael Stuhlbarg spent hours watching films of Sackler’s 2015 deposition. Great drama and a well-told story.
  • American Cartel: Inside the Battle to Bring Down the Opioid Industry, Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz, Grand Central Publishing, 2022. A cautionary tale and account of how the American drug industry co-opted its own regulators and politicians to create the environment that allowed addiction crisis to spread unchecked – a modern day version of what the patent medicine industry accomplished over 100 years ago. Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters for the Washington Post who uncovered this story, the book is classified as “true crime.” 
  • Transforming the War on Drugs: Warriors, Victims and Vulnerable Regions, Annette Idler, editor.  A scholarly examination of today’s war on drugs, with contributions by scholars around the world.
  • The Shadow Patrol, by Alex Berenson, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012. Taking place in Afghanistan, this book features Berenson’s “superhero” spy, John Wells. Berenson was a reporter for many years, and this book features realistic details about the war on drugs. Have fun with this one!