The Rise of ‘Big Dope’: Organized Crime and America’s Raging Opioid Crisis
The deadliest drug crisis in U.S. history started with people overdosing on prescription opioids, an epidemic fueled by profit-driven drug manufacturers and doctors. Today, the epidemic is largely a result of illegal synthetic drugs – meth, heroin and especially fentanyl, created in China and distributed by Mexican cartels. Journalist Sam Quinones, the nation’s foremost chronicler of this heartbreaking crisis, will explain what is happening and offer ideas to address the onslaught of addiction that devastates American communities.
A book signing will follow this program in the courtroom. Pre-order your signed copy of The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth.
Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of three acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction.
His most recent book is The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth, released in 2021. The book follows his 2015 release, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Bloomsbury Press.
Both books are critically acclaimed. In January 2022, The Least of Us was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) award for Best Nonfiction Book of 2021.
Dreamland won a National Book Critics Circle award for the Best Nonfiction Book of 2015. It was also selected as one of the Best Books of 2015 by Amazon.com, the Daily Beast, Buzzfeed, Seattle Times, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Entertainment Weekly, Audible, and in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business by Nobel economics laureate, Prof. Angus Deaton, of Princeton University. In 2019, Dreamland was selected as one the Best 10 True-Crime Books of all time based on lists, surveys, and ratings of more than 90 million Goodread.com readers. Also in 2019, Slate.com selected Dreamland as one of the 50 best nonfiction books of the last 25 years. In 2021,
GQ Magazine selected Dreamland as one of the “50 Best Books of Literary Journalism of the 21st Century.”
Quinones’ career as a journalist has spanned 35 years. He lived for 10 years as a freelance writer in Mexico, where he wrote his first two books. In 2004, he returned to the United States to work for the L.A. Times, covering immigration, drug trafficking, neighborhood stories, and gangs.
In 2014, he resigned from the paper to return to freelancing, working for National Geographic, Pacific Standard Magazine, the New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and other publications.
Columbia Journalism School selected him as a 2008 recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot prize, for a career of excellence in covering Latin America. He is also a 1998 recipient of an Alicia Patterson Fellowship, one of the most prestigious fellowships given to print journalists.
For several years, he taught Tell Your True Tale writing workshops at East LA Library, the stories of which he posted on his storytelling webpage of the same name.