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This Is Ohio: The Overdose Crisis and the Front Lines of a New America (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

We've all been "baptized in "Just Say No," but we  haven't won the war on drugs.  Even if we clawed back every dime from every opioid manufacturer, we still wouldn't. Thanks to the "iron law of prohibition," many more people have died, but about the same percentage of people remain addicts. As we've pulled  resources away from employment, affordable housing, and healthcare by trying to "arrest our way" into a cure, this  bad policy and the resulting incarceration destroys families and communities. What really works, is the focus of this book. "This is Ohio" makes a great follow up to "Glass House" by Brian Alexander, which looked at the effects of de-industrialization on another Ohio town. Shuler should be required reading for all of those elected and appointed officials who make decisions about public health.


— From Carla's Picks


Every overdose is a policy failure. Such is the guiding element of journalist Jack Shuler's new book, one that explores the current addiction crisis as a human rights problem fostered by poverty and inadequate health care.

Tainted drug supplies, inadequate civic responses, and prevailing negative opinions about people who use drugs, the poor, and those struggling with mental health issues lead to thousands of preventable deaths each year while politicians are slow to adopt effective policies. Putting themselves at great personal risk (and often breaking the law to do so), the brave men and women profiled in This Is Ohio are mounting a grassroots effort to combat ineffective and often incorrect ideas about addiction and instead focus on saving lives through commonsense harm reduction policies.

Opioids are the current face of addiction, but as Shuler shows, the crisis in our midst is one that has long been fostered by income inequality, the loss of manufacturing jobs across the Rust Belt, and lack of access to health care. What is playing out in Ohio today isn't only about opioids, but rather a decades-long economic and sociological shift in small towns all across the United States. It's also about a larger culture of stigma at the heart of how we talk about addiction. What happens in Ohio will have ramifications felt across the nation and for decades to come.

About the Author

JACK SHULER is the author of three books, including The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose. His writing has appeared in The New Republic, Pacific Standard, Christian Science Monitor, 100 Days in Appalachia, and Los Angeles Times, among other publications. He is chair of the narrative journalism program at Denison University. He lives in Ohio. Find out more at
Product Details
ISBN: 9781640093553
ISBN-10: 1640093559
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
Publication Date: September 8th, 2020
Pages: 304
Language: English