Sam Quinones Dreamland Analysis

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Sam Quinones’ Dreamland is a commentary about the opioid problem in America. Quinones draws attention to how in the twentieth century opioids were seen as addictive: “[D]octers treating the terminally ill faced attitudes that seemed medieval when it came to opiates” (184). In the 1970s, Purdue Pharma stated that opioids such as morphine were not addictive substances. After this study was released, many doctors began to view opioids as a viable option for pain relief. Throughout the rest of the book, Quinones explains the shift from doctors never prescribing opiates to prescription opiates being used to treat any sort of pain: chronic back pain, arthritis, severe headaches, etc. Pain became the “fifth vital sign” and with everyone wanting to…show more content…
An immoral way would be to allow all people who overdose to die, with no chance of using Narcan to resuscitate them, thus causing widespread fear of the use of heroin and opiates. Narcan is a drug that is used to revive someone in the event of an overdose, but timing is critical, if you wait to long to administer the Narcan the person will die. A morally acceptable way would be to lower the amount of drug users. Doctors have taken a number of precautions such as limiting the amount of painkillers a patient can receive and even taking strong drugs off the market. These precautions have done very little to stop the use of opiates. Quinones states, “As the opiate epidemic mangled the middle class, these kids doped up and dropped out. Earlier generations of opiate addicts became self-employed construction workers or painters, because that was all they could manage with heroin, and often jail, in their lives” (274), which is a major problem America faces when trying to solve the opiate epidemic. If we educate the states about the addiction rates and potential danger of opiates, public opinion could shift, creating alternate solutions to solving the heroin epidemic in America. In order to lower the amount of opiate addicts the stigma that used to be associated with opiate use needs to return. The fear that used to surround opiate use was one of the only reasons opiates were not used as medication. As long as opiates are being used as a way to physically and mentally escape from pain, America will continue to suffer from opiate
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