BC Reads: The Opioid Epidemic

BC Reads is a month-long program promoting community-wide discussion through reading and the arts. Due to COVID-19-related closures and cancellations, the below series of programs and author visits has been cancelled. Every effort to reschedule the author visits is being made. More details will be coming soon.

Featured Titles and Authors

Book cover of Dopesick

"Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America"
By Beth Macy

An instant New York Times bestseller, "Dopesick" is the only book to tell the full story of the opioid crisis, from the boardroom to the courtroom, and into the living rooms of Americans struggling to save themselves and their families. This book "masterfully interlaces stories of communities in crisis with dark histories of corporate greed and regulatory indifference" (New York Times) from a journalist who has lived through it. 

Portrait of Beth Macy.

Through unsparing, compelling and unforgettably humane portraits of families and first responders working tirelessly in response to this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows that one thing uniting Americans across geographic, partisan and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But even amid twin crises in drug abuse and healthcare, Macy finds reason to hope that the countless ordinary people ensnared by addiction could build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. Macy, a journalist living and reporting in Southwest Virginia has also chronicled history in "Factory Man" and "Truevine". 

Book cover of Long Bright River

"Long Bright River"
By Liz Moore

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. Then Kacey disappears. "Long Bright River" follows both sisters through their adolescence up through the present day, documenting Kacey’s desperate spiral into addiction culminating in a suspenseful mystery as Mickey becomes determined to find her.

Portrait of Liz Moore.

Liz Moore creates a true page turner while highlighting an urban population’s drug problem and how it can either break or strengthen family bonds. "Long Bright River" was selected as the January book club pick by Good Morning America and was one of the most highly anticipated books of 2020. Sponsored by the Friends of the Catonsville Library. 

Book cover of Hey Kiddo.

"Hey, Kiddo"
By Jarrett Krosoczka

Author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczca shares his own story in the illustrated memoir "Hey Kiddo." At a very young age, Jarrett is cared for by his grandparents as his mother, an addict, cannot care for him herself. His father is absent as well, and it is not until his teenage years that Jarrett begins to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father. 

Portrait of Jarrett Krosoczka.Krosoczka is known for graphic novels designed for younger readers. He has written the "Lunch Lady" and "Platypus Police Squad" series, popular with middle school students. In this work, relatable to both teens and adults, Krosoczka utilizes the medium he works best in to turn the camera on himself in an effort to help reduce the stigma of addiction. "Hey, Kiddo" is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction and finding the art that helps you survive. Sponsored by the Friends of the Towson Library. 

Additional Resources

  • Baltimore County Department of Health—Provides treatment through community providers for substance users and their families, offers programs and services to prevent substance use and develops, coordinates and monitors a countywide network of substance use prevention and disorder treatment services. For more information, call 410-88-REACH (73224).
  • 2-1-1 Maryland—Provides information, community resources and referrals on a variety of health and human service issues with one easy phone call. Trained call specialists answer calls 24 hours a day, every day. Learn more by calling 211.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—Provides assistance to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. Learn more about SAMHSA online, find a treatment facility using the nationwide locator tool or call the helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
  • Before It’s Too Late—Provides information and links for individuals facing a substance abuse problem, including family members and loved ones, health care professionals and educators. Learn more about naloxone, treatment, the Good Samaritan Law and more.