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In fascinating detail, Sam Quinones chronicles how, over the past 15 years, enterprising sugar cane farmers in a small county on the west coast of Mexico created a unique distribution system that brought black tar heroin -- the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, 2 to 3 times purer than its white powder cousin -- to the veins of people across the United States. Communities where heroin had never been seen before -- from Charlotte, NC and Huntington, WVA, to Salt Lake City and Portland, OR -- were overrun with it. Local police and residents were stunned. How could heroin, long considered a drug found only in the dense, urban environments along the East Coast, and trafficked into the United States by enormous Colombian drug cartels, be so incredibly ubiquitous in the American heartland? Who was bringing it here, and perhaps more importantly, why were so many townspeople suddenly eager for the comparatively cheap high it offered? With the same dramatic drive of El Narco and Methland, Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of American capitalism: The stories of young men in Mexico, independent of the drug cartels, in search of their own American Dream via the fast and enormous profits of trafficking cheap black-tar heroin to America's rural and suburban addicts; and that of Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut, determined to corner the market on pain with its new and expensive miracle drug, Oxycontin; extremely addictive in its own right.

About the Author

Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones is a journalist, former LA Times reporter, author and storyteller.

His new book of narrative nonfiction - DREAMLAND: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic - was published in 2015 by Bloomsbury Press. It has received rave reviews from Salon.com, Christian Science Monitor, Kirkus Reviews, and a bunch of Amazon.com readers.

DREAMLAND recounts twin tales of drug marketing:

A pharmaceutical corporation flogs its legal new opiate painkiller as nonaddictive; immigrants from a small town in Nayarit, Mexico devise a method for retailing black-tar heroin like pizza and take that system nationwide riding a wave of pill addiction.

The result is our current scourge of opiate - pain pills and heroin - addiction.

A reporter for almost 30 years, Quinones lived and worked as a freelance writer in Mexico from 1994 to 2004. He spent time with gang members and governors, taco vendors and Los Tigres del Norte. He wrote about soap operas, and he lived briefly in a drug-rehabilitation clinic in Zamora, while hanging out with a street gang. He did the same with a colony of transvestites in Mazatlan, with the merchants in the Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito, and with the relegated PRI congressmen known as the Bronx. He hung out with the promoters of Tijuana's opera scene and with the makers of plaster statues of Mickey Mouse and Spiderman in that city's Colonia Libertad.

His previous two acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration made him, according to the SF Chronicle Book Review, "the most original writer on Mexico and the border."

His first book -- True Tales From Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2001) -- is a collection of nonfiction stories about contemporary Mexico.

His second -- Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration (UNM Press, 2007) -- was called "genuinely original work, what great fiction and nonfiction aspire to be, these are the stories that stop time and remind us how great reading is." (S.F. Chronicle) .

In 1998, he received a Alicia Patterson Fellowship, and Columbia University's Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2008, for a career of excellence in reporting about Latin America.

He returned to the United States in 2004 to take a job with the LA Times, where for 10 years he wrote stories about immigrants, street gangs, drug trafficking, and marijuana growers in Northern California.

Contact him at www.samquinones.com

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