In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field named Dreamland, that became the center of community life. This could have been Any Town, USA but now, opioid addiction has devastated Portsmouth, leaving wrecked lives and lost hope, as it has in hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.
Sam Quinones, uses his remarkable narrative skill and storytelling ability to weave a classic tale of capitalism run amok. At the heart of the crisis is the unintentional collision of the unfettered prescribing of opioid pain medications and a massive influx of cheap black tar heroin, a low cost, but dangerous and devastating substitute for extremely expensive and highly addictive prescription medications like OxyContin. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to families and communities across the nation.
Dreamland’s cast of characters includes big pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors and parents. It is a revelatory, yet surprisingly empathetic story of the growing threat facing America’s heartland.