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Pre-publication Reviews of Opium: 

Library Journal

"Part history text and part cultural commentary, this is essentially a biography of opium. The story, however, is far from over; there is much work to be done in addressing the opioid crisis. In this informative, insightful, and ultimately hopeful work, the authors offer concrete solutions to an epic problem." 


"Before exploring humans' fraught relationship with opium, Halpern, a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of substance-use disorders, engages readers by sharing the story of a friend who committed suicide due to prolonged opioid use, and an alarming statistic: in 2017 alone, 47,600 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses—almost as many as were killed in the entire Vietnam War. Authoritative, engaging, and accessible, this call for action offers solutions—insurance and criminal justice reforms, alternative treatments, and eradication of punishment—and avenues to greater overall understanding."

Kirkus Review

"A breezy history of a substance that 'is reluctant to give up its secrets' and a somber account of futile efforts to discourage its abuse....Straining for optimism, the authors describe scientific advances and a change in our moral disapproval of addiction, which might help alleviate this disaster. A fine account of opium and its misuse, which so far seems to be an insoluble problem."