Beth Macy

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Sue Cantrell is a former pharmacist and long-time health-department director in Virginia who works to combat the harmful effects of OxyContin, sometimes collaborating with Art Van Zee, Sue Ella, and Sister Beth. She notices the opioid epidemic early, noting that it comes at a particularly bad time when the lack of mining jobs has caused widespread poverty in Appalachia. Her early efforts to raise awareness, however, are mostly met with silence, and officials are eager to pass the blame elsewhere. Eventually, however, the broader public does begin to recognize the extent of the crisis. Cantrell continues to work on the front lines, advocating for programs like needle exchanges that are a hard sell to some audiences but which have been proven to be the most effective options.

Dr. Sue Cantrell Quotes in Dopesick

The Dopesick quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Sue Cantrell or refer to Dr. Sue Cantrell. 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
Chapter 2 Quotes

The doctors were witnessing the same thing that Lieutenant Stallard had seen a year earlier, in 1997, on the streets. “We had always had people using Lortabs and Percocets, but they were five- or ten-milligram pills you could take every day and still function. They didn’t have to have more,” Stallard said.

“The difference with OxyContin was it turned them into nonfunctioning people”

Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dr. Sue Cantrell Character Timeline in Dopesick

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Sue Cantrell appears in Dopesick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Dr. Sue Cantrell, a former pharmacist who has been a longtime health-department director in Virginia, sees the arrival... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...arrives in Virginia, however, Van Zee is still confused about what’s happening. He calls Sue Cantrell with some concerns about what he’s seen experienced users do with the new pill, OxyContin.... (full context)
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Cantrell, as the region’s top public health official, begins in the late 1990s to call other... (full context)
Chapter 13
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Meanwhile, regional health department director Sue Cantrell is slowly making her own progress. Virginia has recently passed a law paving the way... (full context)
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon that makes her feel hopeful, Macy thinks of people like Sue Ella, Tyson, and Cantrell, who use the strength of community to combat the epidemic. (full context)