Help Teens Go Beyond the Headlines With New Nonfiction on the Opioid Crisis

teen nonfiction on the opioid crisis

By Twenty-First Century Books Editorial Director Domenica Di Piazza

“It’s hard to watch someone you love fall so deeply under the spell of a substance that turns him or her into a stranger. Someone you don’t even want to know.”

Best-selling YA novelist Ellen Hopkins says this about her own experience with her meth-addicted daughter. The sentiment is echoed by thousands of American families facing addiction and overdose in their lives every day.

An opioid overdose epidemic

And these days, the crisis is opioids. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Last week, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis in American to be a “health emergency.” Opioids include prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl.

According to the CDC, these drugs killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. And, the number of deaths increased an alarming 55% in one year, rising to 59,000 opioid deaths in 2016.

Some of these deaths are average kids in average schools and average universities across the land. Most experts say more money is required to deal with the challenge as well as stronger federal enforcement and intervention. So far, the administration has not released additional funds.

Earlier this month, 60 Minutes and the Washington Post released devastating joint reporting focusing on the extent to which the US Congress and the pharmaceutical industry have allowed millions of opioid drugs to make their way to shady pharmacies, over-prescribing doctors, and communities already crippled by the crisis. According to the report, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal regulatory agencies are losing their ability to intervene and stop the flow of drugs.

 Nonfiction for teens on the opioid crisis

Addiction and Overdose teen nonfiction title on the opioid crisis

What’s at stake? How did this happen? Who are the players and the victims? How can we make a difference and help loved ones who may be struggling with an addiction? In Addiction and Overdose: Confronting an American Crisis, medical writer and nurse Connie Goldsmith takes an in-depth look at the faces of the crisis.

You’ll meet Alisha Choquette, who says, “One of my friends handed me two pills and said they’d help me get through [the funeral]. This was the day I met and fell in love with the love of my life—opioids.” Choquette battled her addiction for years. She overdosed on heroin multiple times, lost a daughter to protective custody, and moved in and out of treatment programs.

Of her experience, she says, “Being a drug addict is a lifelong commitment that I would not wish on anybody. . . . Addiction does not discriminate. It doesn’t care where you come from, what you look like, who you know, or what kind of person you are. Anyone can become addicted and once they are, they become someone they never would have believed they were capable of becoming.”

In this deeply researched, informative title, you can learn how Choquette got clean, the neurology of opioid addiction, the challenges of recovery, and resources to seek assistance. It’s a book you’ll want to have in your collection. It could save a life.

To see more Fall 2017 new teen nonfiction titles from Twenty-First Century Books, click here.

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