Michelle S, Reviewer
Dr. Amy Sullivan is among the dedicated professionals committed fight the American drug epidemic that has claimed the lives of over 760,000 people since 1999. In “Opioid Reckoning: Love, Loss, and Redemption in the Rehab State” (2021) begins in a Minnesota ER with Sullivans daughters near fatal heroin overdose. Sullivan readily admits she wouldn’t have completed this book if her daughter had died; she teaches “Uses and Abuses: Drugs, Addiction and Recovery” (2016-) and in addition provides instruction on administering Naloxone. (Macalister College St. Paul, Minnesota.) The state of Minnesota is known as the rehab state with the premier Hazelden Betty Ford Center. It was noted that drug rehab facilities seldom keep statistics on outcome, relapse, and long-term success rates. There is a stunning lack of accountability of state/federal requirements and regulations regarding the industry. Gaining access to treatment poses another serious problem for addicts: the requirements and qualifications involving perplexing confusing maze of insurance access, payment, Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), and the necessity related to follow-up aftercare. This process should be streamlined with improved accessibility, and accountability for providers of addiction services based on proven evidence and researched based facts and outcomes. There was a large local community of life-changing support for addicts and their families, the battle to fight addiction must not be faced alone. Most parents supported the concept of “Harm Reduction” since the “War on Drugs” was a colossal failure. While in rehab at treatment facility, Spencer Johnson, 34, died of a fatal overdose on April 16, 2016. Beverly Burrell was prosecuted in a Minnesota courtroom on third degree murder charges for selling the fatal doses that led to the death of Johnson and others (2019). Sullivan noted with Johnsons parents that prosecuting drug dealers with drug user deaths does not reduce the high death toll. Besides, the costs and resources expended in the courtroom are greatly needed more for treatment. A hospital-based treatment program also denied Johnson access because his prescription of suboxone violated their righteous principles and values. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical industry that flooded the streets with harmful and deadly drugs was not held responsible or accountable for their part in the vast devastation and destruction related to addiction that impacted American communities across the nation. Sullivan also interviewed individuals and organizations that tirelessly fight the ongoing battle of addiction and improved public services in this outstanding and noteworthy book. Bravo! ~ ** With thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.