Beth is an award-winning journalist on the problems in American society that have never gotten the attention they deserve. Of late, her work has focused on the opioid epidemic that is ravaging America. Her talks explore the root causes, the side effects that ensue, and most importantly how we can cure the problem.

Beth Macy is a Virginia-based journalist who writes about outsiders and underdogs. Raised poor in a small Ohio community, she is the award-winning author of three New York Times bestselling books examining rural communities left behind by corporate greed and political indifference. Her first book, Factory Man, explored the aftermath of globalization and won a J. Anthony Lukas Prize. Dopesick was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, won the L.A. Times Book Prize for Science and Technology, and was described as a “masterwork of narrative nonfiction” by The New York Times.

Dopesick was made into a Peabody- and Emmy Award-winning Hulu series; Macy was an executive producer and cowriter on the show. Her 2022 book, Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis, was a follow-up to Dopesick and explored on-the-ground solutions to the nation’s drug epidemic.

A 2010 Nieman Fellow for Journalism at Harvard and a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow, Macy has also written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. Her next book, Paper Girl, is a combination memoir and reported examination of the rural-urban divide told through the lenses of declining upward mobility, political polarization, and the decimation of local and regional news.

Speech topics

Raising Lazarus: The search for solutions—and hope—to addiction, the No. 1 destroyer of families in our lifetime

Nearly a decade into the second wave of America's opioid epidemic, pharmaceutical companies are finally being forced to answer for the crisis they created. The pending multi-district litigation against opioid makers, distributors, and retailers could result in tens of millions of dollars to help treat the disease of addiction and provide communities across America with resources to help those struggling with addiction. And yet there is no consensus on the best treatment available to help addicted people, nor an understanding of how to scale the programs that have proven successful.

In this talk, Macy examines what happens when political forces beyond the control of individuals come to define generations of Americans. This complex story of public health, big pharma, dark money, politics, race, and class will take the story of DOPESICK into the present day, showing that the increase in the number of overdose deaths during the COVID pandemic illustrates the tremendous need across America to change the conditions that make addiction so prevalent and which prevent those seeking treatment to begin new lives.

Dopesick: America’s Epidemic

Beth Macy explores how America's twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction started, how it spread from the inner-city to the distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; and it’s heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched. Through unsparing, yet deeply human portraits of the families and first responders struggling to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But in the end, Macy still finds reason to hope - and see’s signs of the spirit and tenacity necessary to build a better future for communities, families and those addicted. 

Factory Man

Beth Macy explores the takeaways she learned from writing “Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town.” The book set out to answer two questions: What is the untold aftermath of offshoring some 5 million manufacturing jobs? And was there another way? Drawing upon two years of research, including meticulous reporting and hundreds of interviews with everyone from displaced workers to American and Chinese CEOs, Macy tells the story of two factory towns in Virginia, run largely by different branches of the same family tree. One branch offshored nearly all its domestic production, putting 8,500 people out of work. The other successfully kept its flagship factory going. What are the lessons we can draw from these two business/family stories? 

More Video


Raising Lazarus: The Search for Hope and Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis

The new book by the author of Dopesick, the New York Times bestselling book that inspired the award-winning Hulu limited series

In her characteristic narrative style, Beth Macy pulls the massive national health crisis that is opioid addiction down to its compelling, character-driven, emotional core to illustrate the personal cost American families have been forced to shoulder. This is the necessary follow up to DOPESICK, deeply reported and full of breaking news, that makes clear that entire swathes of America—especially rural America—have been left to fend for themselves.

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Factory Man comes the only book to fully chart the opioid crisis in America-an unforgettable portrait of the families and first responders on the front lines.

Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South 

The true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and whose mother endured a 28-year struggle to get them back.

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town 

The instant New York Times bestseller about one man's battle to save hundreds of jobs by demonstrating the greatness of American business 

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