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Last Updated on August 6, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 371

In Dopesick, Beth Macy examines both the human dimensions and the broader social issues of the opioid crisis in the United States through focusing on southwestern Virginia. Her approach is primarily that of a journalist, basing her accounts on many interviews with people who are directly affected. The author also uses a number of research techniques to situate the individuals and families within their communities and to draw a larger picture of the Appalachian region, which has been especially hard hit. Macy also looks both at corporate responsibility and the need for accountability and reviews possible solutions. Her work draws on social science and interdisciplinary approaches, incorporating sociology, economics, and policy studies.

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Locating her in-depth analysis in and around Roanoke, Virginia, Macy brings home the devastating effects of opioids in various forms. Noting that rural areas, not just urban and suburban areas, have been heavily affected, she examines the patterns of drug sales, both legal and illegal, that put these powerful narcotics into people’s hands, often beginning when they were just teenagers. Macy charts the efforts of numerous individuals and organizations to stem the tide, both in aiding addicts with recovery and providing needed services to their families. Those involved include medical professionals, religious workers, and heartsick parents. Beyond dealing with the immediate impact, Macy shows the activist positions that a diverse array of people have deployed, taking the Food...

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