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Dreamland: America's Opiate Problem and How We Got Here

St. Joseph County Medical Society in partnership with Memorial Hospital of South Bend Medical Education Department, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, North Central Dental Society & St. Joseph County Bar Association hosted an event to discuss the opiate epidemic in our community with Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland, who spoke to the over 350 attendees.

Afterwards, a panel of community members held an open forum to further discuss. The panel included:

• Jay Asdell, DDS; Michiana Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery • Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend • Kenneth P Cotter; SJC Prosecuting Attorney • John Horsley, MBA, MSW, LCSW, LCAC; Director of Addiction Services Oaklawn • Sam Quinones; Author, Journalist • Julie Reed, JD; Executive Vice President ISMA • Becky Savage, RN, MSN; 525 Foundation • Robin Vida, MPH, CHES; Director of Health Education, SJC Health Department

Moderators included: • Natali Balog, MD, FACR; President SJCMS, Rheumatologist, South Bend Clinic • Brandon Zabukovic, MD, MPA, FAAFP; Medical Director – Family & Addiction Medicine, Memorial Hospital

At the conclusion of the seminar, participants were able to understand the role that doctors and pain specialists played in our nationwide opiate epidemic, how changes in our heroin market affected the epidemic and how American cultural changes were part of creating this epidemic.


Sam Quinones is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and author of three books of narrative nonfiction. His latest book is Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury, 2015), for which he traveled across the United States.

Dreamland recounts twin stories of drug marketing in the 21st Century: A pharmaceutical corporation flags its legal new opiate prescription painkiller as nonaddictive. Meanwhile, immigrants from a small town in Nayarit, Mexico devise a method for retailing black-tar heroin like pizza in the US, and take that system nationwide, riding a wave of addiction to prescription pills from coast to coast. The collision of those two forces has led to America's deadliest drug scourge in modern times.


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