Beth Macy is the author of the critically acclaimed and New York Times-bestselling books, Factory Man, Truevine, and Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America (2018). Macy serves as an Executive Producer and writer on the acclaimed Hulu limited television series Dopesick, which is based on her book.
Growing out of three decades of reporting from the same Virginia communities, as her prior books did, Dopesick unpacks the most intractable social problems of our time: the opioid crisis, set against a landscape of job loss, corporate greed and stigma, along with the families and first responders who are heroically fighting back. Overdose deaths are now the equivalent of a jetliner crashing in our country every day, and yet the government response to the epidemic remains, in a word, impotent.
Dopesick is, in many ways, the sequel to Macy's first book, FACTORY MAN. It lays out exactly how the jobless “other America” ended up couch-surfing with the likes of surgeon’s daughters and civic leaders’ kids who fall prey to prostitution, jail, and even death. Tom Hanks describes Dopesick as “a deep — and deeply needed — look into the troubled soul of America.” Stanford addiction medicine specialist and author Dr. Anna Lembke calls it the first book to capture the entirety of the epidemic, “with a fast-paced narrative, colorful and inspiring characters, vivid historical detail, and a profound sense of place.”
A longtime reporter who specializes in outsiders and underdogs, Macy has won more than a dozen national journalism awards, including a Lukas Prize for Factory Man, multiple shortlist and best-book-of-the-year honors for Truevine, and a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard for her newspaper writing.
A frequent speaker, teacher and essayist, Macy has been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Oprah magazine, and Parade. Her approach to storytelling: Report from the ground up, establish trust, be patient, find stories that tap into universal truths. Get out of your ZIP code. To do good journalism, be a human first.
Her book, Raising Lazarus, Hope, Justice, and the Future of America's Drug Crisis (August 2022), focuses on solutions to the opioid crisis and the heroic efforts of frontline workers who are applying harm reduction practices on the streets of America. It also will document the efforts of activists and parents of the dead who are trying to hold the Sackler family accountable for the crisis they helped create.
Follow her on Twitter @papergirlmacy
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.
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?
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.