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Publisher's Summary

National Best Seller

Shortlisted for the 2021 BC Book Awards' George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature

Shortlisted for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes, for both the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes

Shortlisted for the 2021 J. W. Dafoe Book Prize 

"Overdose is a necessary and searching investigation into a devastating epidemic that should never have happened. Benjamin Perrin painstakingly shows that it need not continue if we, as a society, heed the evidence." (Gabor Maté, MD, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)

An astonishing and powerful look at the ongoing opioid crisis.

North America is in the middle of a health emergency. Life expectancies are declining. Someone is dying every two hours in Canada from illicit drug overdose. Fentanyl has become a looming presence - an opioid more powerful, pervasive, and deadly than any previous street drug. The victims are many - and often not whom we might expect. They include the poor and forgotten but also our neighbors: professionals, students, and parents. Despite the thousands of deaths, these victims have remained largely invisible. But not anymore. 

Benjamin Perrin, a law and policy expert, shines a light in this darkest of corners - and his findings challenge many assumptions about the crisis. Why do people use drugs despite the risk of overdosing? Can we crack down on the fentanyl supply? Do supervised consumption sites and providing "safe drugs" enable the problem? Which treatments work? Would decriminalizing all drugs help or do further harm?  

In this urgent and humane look at a devastating epidemic, Perrin draws on behind-the-scenes interviews with those on the frontlines, including undercover police officers, intelligence analysts, border agents, prosecutors, health-care professionals, Indigenous organizations, activists, and people who use drugs. Not only does he unveil the many complexities of this situation, but he also offers a new way forward - one that may save thousands of lives.

©2020 Benjamin Perrin (P)2020 Viking

Critic Reviews

A Loan Stars Pick

"Overdose is a necessary and searching investigation into a devastating epidemic that should never have happened. Benjamin Perrin painstakingly shows that it need not continue if we, as a society, heed the evidence." (Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

"In Overdose, we walk the streets with the author and meet law enforcement officers, healthcare providers, former users, and activists. Along the way, we overcome any prejudice we may have toward the opioid crisis and its victims. Using empirical research, Perrin guides us through the ramifications of the complex problem of the opioid crisis and looks at ways forward. A real eye-opener." (The Hon. Marie Deschamps, former Justice, Supreme Court of Canada) 

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