Opioid addiction has swiftly become one of the most deadly health crises in American history, but how did it come about? Beginning with the ancient Greeks and Mesopotamians, this book traces how colonial empires marketed it around the world, and eventually how international drug companies developed a range of powerful synthetic opioids that led to an epidemic of addiction. Psychiatrist John Halpern and documentarian David Blistein reveal the fascinating role that opium has played in building our modern world, and suggest how—using the insights of history, state-of-the-art science, and a compassionate approach—we can overcome today's overdose epidemic.
"Authoritative, engaging, and accessible, this call for action offers solutions—insurance and criminal justice reforms, alternative treatments, and eradication of punishment—and avenues to greater overall understanding."—Booklist