Dopesick

Beth Macy is a journalist and the author of the 2018 New York Times-bestselling book, “DOPESICK: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America.  A dramatized adaptation of the book will be released by Hulu as an eight-episode limited series on October 13, 2021. The series stars Micheal Keaton, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosario Dawson, Peter Sarsgaard, John Hoogenakker, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Keaton told Hollywood Reporter that he was drawn to Dopesick for personal reasons. His nephew, Michael, died from fentanyl and heroin use a few years ago in his 30s. “I thought, ‘Well, if this is even remotely good, I have to do this.’ It happens to be real good.”

Shot on location in Virginia, including parts of Appalachia impacted by the crisis, Dopesick examines how one company, Purdue Pharma, triggered the worst drug epidemic in American history. Series creator Danny Strong directed episodes, as did Barry Levinson, Michal Cuesta, and Patricia Riggen. Along with Strong and others, Macy is  a writer and an Executive Producer on the series.


For DOPESICK, Macy drew upon thirty years of reporting from southwest Virginia communities, as she did in her earlier books, FACTORY MAN and TRUEVINE, both of which were named to the The New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books list. Her work has long sought to bring attention to outsiders and underdogs — the largely voiceless people left behind by growing inequality, technology, and globalization. All of Macy’s books are published by Little, Brown and Company. DOPESICK was an instant bestseller, garnered positive reviews, and  radio and television coverage — including an interview on Fresh Air.

Dopesick also won the L.A. Times Book Prize for science and technology, and was short-listed for The Kirkus Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal. Two of the people featured in the book, Roanoke native Tess Henry and her mother, Patricia Mehrmann, were also the subjects of the 2019 Audible Original podcast, “Finding Tess – A Mother’s Search for Answers in a Dopesick America,” about how systems abandon those with substance use disorder.

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Macy says, “I wrote Dopesick the only way I knew how — by witnessing the epidemic’s landing in three Virginia communities over two decades and getting to know the people on the front lines. From distressed small communities in central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs, from disparate cities to once idyllic farm towns, it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that explains how the national crisis became so entrenched.” She is still covering the issue—writing about the settlements with opioid makers and the parents of the dead who became unwitting activists. Raising Lazarus, a followup to Dopesick, will chronicle the struggle for hope and justice in America’s overdose crisis, and is scheduled to publish in August 2022.

Praise for Dopesick

“Dopesick” illuminates the persistent and often conflicting gaps in the treatment and criminal-justice landscapes while shining a hopeful light on the heroes battling the worst drug epidemic in American history. Through unsparing and deeply human portraits, DOPESICK hones in on the families and first-responders — “the very hearts of the people who are running the long marathons of struggle and survival,” according to actor and author Tom Hanks, who calls the book “another deep — and deeply needed — look into the troubled soul of America.”

Nobel-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton and Professor Anne Case also endorsed it, writing: “With compassion and humanity, Macy takes us into the lives of the victims, their families, law enforcement, and even some of the criminals. A great book!”

Macy recently discussed her evolution as a papergirl to ink-stained author with Longform Podcast host Evan Ratliff: literally delivering her hometown newspaper, where she first learned to roam around interviewing all kinds of people.

She lives and writes in Roanoke, Virginia.

Now available for purchase!