Dopesick

Dopesick

by

Beth Macy

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Beth Macy is a journalist from Roanoke, Virginia, and the author of Dopesick. Although the book isn’t a memoir, she does occasionally insert herself into the story, usually to explain the process of interviewing her sources for the book. While Macy typically tries to keep a journalistic distance from her subjects, occasionally the lines get blurred, such as when Macy begins driving opioid-addict Tess Henry to her Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Macy faces a hard choice when she receives garbled text messages from Tess asking Macy to come immediately to help. Ultimately, Macy decides to forward the messages to Tess’s mother, Patricia, and to an advocate at a local addiction clinic, Jamie Waldrop. Macy’s relationship with Tess shows that, while she doesn’t believe in blindly following rules, she also has strong journalistic ethics, making her a credible source to report on the opioid epidemic.

Beth Macy Quotes in Dopesick

The Dopesick quotes below are all either spoken by Beth Macy or refer to Beth Macy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Back Bay Books edition of Dopesick published in 2018.
Prologue Quotes

Though the opioid epidemic would go on to spare no segment of America, nowhere has it settled in and extracted as steep a toll as in the depressed former mill and mining communities of Central Appalachia, where the desperate and jobless rip copper wire out of abandoned factories to resell on the black market and jimmy large-screen TVs through a Walmart garden-center fence crack to keep from “fiending for dope.”

Related Characters: Beth Macy
Related Symbols: Coal
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

Three months before visiting Jones, in the spring of 2016, Kristi Fernandez and I stood next to Jesse’s grave on a rolling hillside in Strasburg, Virginia, in the shadow of Signal Knob. She’d asked me to meet her at one of her regular cemetery stops, on her way home from work, so I could see how she’d positioned his marker, just so, at the edge of the graveyard.

It was possible to stand at Jesse’s headstone—emblazoned with the foot-high number 55, in the same font as the lettering on his Strasburg Rams varsity jersey—and look down on the stadium where he had once summoned the crowd to its feet simply by running onto the field and pumping his arms

Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Harm reduction remained slow to catch on in most of the Bible Belt, including Roanoke. When I told Janine about an idea hatched at an opioid brainstorming session in Boston—to segregate users on a boat in international waters, where they could legally inject under medical supervision, ideally then transitioning to counseling and MAT—she was repulsed. “That’s crazy! We’ve created this problem, and now we decide we’re just going to continue to let it happen, and that’s the answer?”

And yet she was miles ahead of most leaders in her conservative community. She’d told her son’s story recently to the local school board and county officials, hoping to raise money for the county’s risk prevention council, which was currently running on fumes and a few small federal grants. She’d explained how she’d pulled strings to get her kids into the Hidden Valley school zone because she considered it a superior place to raise children. But the affluence she believed would protect her family had instead allowed the festering of shame and inaction. Almost daily the Hope Initiative took a call about a heroin user from Hidden Valley or nearby Cave Spring, and police data showed that the problem was worse by far in those two communities than in other, less affluent areas of the county.

Related Characters: Janine Underwood (speaker), Beth Macy, Chris Perkins, Bobby
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I hoped the stories of Ronnie Jones and his victims would illuminate the ruts in both a criminal justice system that pursues a punishment-fits-all plan when the truth is much more complicated and a strained medical system that overtreats people with painkillers until the moment addiction sets in—and health care scarcity becomes the rule.

I hoped, too, that my interview with Jones would help answer Kristi Fernandez’s questions about what led to her son Jesse’s premature death. Was Ronnie Jones really the monster that law enforcement officials made him out to be? Had the statewide corrections behemoth that returns two thousand ex-offenders a year to Virginia’s cities, counties, and towns played a role in his revolving door of failures?

Page Number: 252
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

Tess was still homeless, and another week passed before she called Patricia with an address via a borrowed phone, possibly belonging to a current or former pimp. “Are you in danger?” her mom asked, and Tess claimed she was not, repeating a line she often said: “I’m a soldier, Mom. I’ll be fine.

“Yes, love.” Patricia responded. “But sometimes even soldiers fall.”

Related Characters: Tess Henry (speaker), Patricia Mehrmann (speaker), Beth Macy
Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Dopesick LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dopesick PDF

Beth Macy Character Timeline in Dopesick

The timeline below shows where the character Beth Macy appears in Dopesick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
...imprisoned former drug dealer Ronnie Jones has his first visitor: the author of Dopesick, Beth Macy. Jones is in the second year of his 23-year prison sentence for being involved with... (full context)
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
...early communication, which takes place over Jones’s prison-monitored email, Jones is skeptical about talking to Macy. Eventually, he agrees to communicate with her because he wants his young daughters to see... (full context)
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Within a week of Macy’s interview with Jones, a batch of heroin comes to Huntington, West Virginia (four hours away... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Seeking to understand the opioid epidemic from another angle, Macy visits Kristi Fernandez in Strasburg, Virginia, in the spring of 2016. Kristi’s son, Jesse, has... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
...to her son: how he went from high-school football star to construction worker to overdosing. Macy agrees that the questions of mourners like Kristi are a central part of the story... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
To get to Ronnie Jones, Macy takes Interstate 81, dubbed a “heroin highway” by some, and she goes in the opposite... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Macy first learns about Van Zee from a 2003 book by Barry Meier called Pain Killer,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...a near-fatal overdose). The addicted weathermen are a wake-up call to Roanoke (where author Beth Macy lives), although the case of the weathermen is far from an anomaly. Previously, heroin use... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
In summer 2012, Macy follows Robin and Spencer as Spencer prepares for prison. Spencer opens up to Macy about... (full context)
Chapter 6
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
...past 12 years, ever since globalization reduced the number of factory jobs in the area. Macy began reporting on areas like Martinsville in 2008 for the Roanoke Times and later for... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
Macy learns about the connections between poverty, disability, and opioid addiction when the Basset Furniture store... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
...is being weaned off Suboxone (a treatment for narcotic dependence) when he is interviewed by Macy and tells his story. (full context)
Chapter 9
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence in a federal women’s prison in Kentucky when she begins emailing Macy. She knows about Spencer Mumpower and Colton Banks, and she was even there at Scott... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Tess Henry is a 26-year-old waitress that Macy meets in 2015. She is the daughter of a local surgeon and a nurse. Although... (full context)
Chapter 10
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...early 2016, the Hope Initiative was getting started at right around the same time that Macy began following the story of Tess Henry and her infant son. After getting out of... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
For many months in early 2016, Macy drives Tess and her baby to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Though Narcotics Anonymous theoretically approves of... (full context)
The Value of Science Theme Icon
...doctors remain skeptical about all MAT, drawing parallels between the development of heroin in 1898. Macy believes, however, that hardline stances against MAT are the single greatest obstacle to reducing overdose... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Tess goes to a few more Narcotics Anonymous meetings, driven by Macy, but after four, she stops wanting to attend. The journalistic boundary between Tess and Macy... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
In October 2016, Jamie and Macy visit Tess in a psych ward, where she has checked herself in due to suicidal... (full context)
Chapter 11
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Macy feels that the disagreements between the criminal justice establishment and the families of people struggling... (full context)
Chapter 12
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Macy hopes that interviewing the dealer Ronnie Jones will help reveal the connections between addiction, the... (full context)
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
Ronnie, 39 at the time Macy visits him, remains guarded at first but polite. Jones has been studying Arabic and Swahili,... (full context)
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Macy wonders how Ronnie Jones’s life would be different if he’d had help from people like... (full context)
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
After speaking with Ronnie, Macy drives back to Roanoke, too tired to visit Kristi Fernandez in Woodstock. She dreads telling... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
...out the dead user’s dealer in order to chase a higher high). A day after Macy interviews Ronnie, she finally tells Kristi that Ronnie doesn’t even recognize Jesse’s name. (full context)
Chapter 13
Cycles of History Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
...getting reliable treatment (particularly MAT) is difficult. While not all patients want or need MAT, Macy believes it is crucial that people have the option. (full context)
Cycles of History Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Macy asks why it took so long for the government to respond to the opioid crisis,... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
To finish her story, Macy looks back to Central Appalachia, where the modern opioid epidemic began. She speaks with nurse-practitioner... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Macy interviews Tyson before and after RAM. Macy and other reporters are often surprised by the... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Macy finds hope while following the story of Tyson, her staff, and her patients. Tyson projects... (full context)
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Macy contends that the current political response to the opioid epidemic is far from adequate. She... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Macy looks at the work of Dr. Steve Lloyd, a former opioid user who has become... (full context)
Epilogue
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Macy recalls how the families of addicted people that she followed in Roanoke seem to age... (full context)
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Scott Roth’s mother, Robin, still regularly texts with Macy and has been mourning her son’s death for eight years. She recently moved from her... (full context)
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
In the fall of 2017, Macy again speaks with Bobby’s mother, Janine Underwood. Bobby’s old friends continue to show up at... (full context)