DANVILLE — Described by a reader as “fascinating, disturbing and important,” the non-fiction book, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” will be featured at a special afternoon adult book discussion on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m., at St. Luke’s Community Center, 307 N. Market St., Danville. The program is sponsored by the Danville Public Library.

At the beginning of the program, author and acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones will discuss his work and take questions during a 30-minute live Skype talk, arranged by Betty Carpenter, manager of the Danville Public Library. Officer Mark Perkins will lead the public discussion on the book, and look at how the opiate epidemic is affecting our own Knox County communities daily.

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 — addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story behind “Dreamland.”

Acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two riveting tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been a catastrophic opiate epidemic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive — extremely addictive — miracle painkiller.

Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin — cheap, potent, and originating from one small county, Xalisco, Nayarit, on Mexico’s west coast and independent of any drug cartel, assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Finally, though, Quinones finds hope in the same Rust Belt river town that led the country into the opiate epidemic – Portsmouth, where townspeople are turning away from dependence and toward economic as well as municipal self-reliance, and, with that, recovery.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters — pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents — Quinones shows how these tales fit together.

A Portsmouth family and several grandparents who have experienced the results of the opiate epidemic will be in attendance. Participants in the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County adult book discussion at the main library in Mount Vernon are encouraged to attend this joint program as it will replace the group’s regular February book discussion.

Copies of the book are available for checkout at any of the four library locations in Mount Vernon, Fredericktown, Gambier or Danville, or can be purchased at any area book store.

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call the Danville Public Library at 740-599-BOOK (2665), visit www.knox.net, or email communityrelations@knox.net.



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