America is in the midst of a new drug crisis. Earlier this year, the CDC reported a staggering 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021. That’s one every five minutes. It’s up almost 15% from 2020 and nearly 70% of those deaths involved fentanyl. 

On today’s episode, Duane speaks with Sam Quinones who has been sounding the alarm for years. A journalist and storyteller, Sam is a former LA Times reporter and author of four acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction, including New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. He’s also the author of the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth, which captures the devastation of this new epidemic of synthetic drugs, but at the same time, offers a lot of hope.

Duane and Sam explore the root of this whole opioid crisis and the need for us, as a society, to embrace recovery without anonymity, no more euphemisms, and no more hiding. We all have to get out of the shame that comes with addiction. We’re also living in a culture of addictive stuff where fast food, sugars, and pornography are legal. All this boils down to social change that is best achieved in small ways and small daily efforts – and it all starts with you!

In this episode, you will hear:

  • The supply of synthetic drugs in Mexico
  • How his book focuses on the message of hope in the midst of the opioid era
  • Dr. Lou Ortenzio’s story of addiction and recovery
  • Getting rid of the anonymity and euphemisms
  • How we’re living in a culture of addictive stuff
  • Becoming a master of your own fate
  • What you can do on an individual level

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Supporting Resources:



Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth

Episode Credits

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