Dopesick

Dopesick

by

Beth Macy

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Janine Underwood Character Analysis

Janine Underwood is the executive director of Chris Perkins’s Hope Initiative and the mother of Bobby (who dies of a fentanyl overdose). She works with other concerned community members, including Jamie Waldrop, to help addicts in the Hidden Valley region of Virginia get connected to treatment. Though she is skeptical of harm reduction approaches to addiction and of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), she keeps an open mind and doesn’t let this prevent her from referring some Hope Initiative people to MAT. Janine provides a model for how motivated people can get involved to help improve their local communities.

Janine Underwood Quotes in Dopesick

The Dopesick quotes below are all either spoken by Janine Underwood or refer to Janine Underwood. 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.
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:
Get the entire Dopesick LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dopesick PDF

Janine Underwood Character Timeline in Dopesick

The timeline below shows where the character Janine Underwood appears in Dopesick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...aims to establish a clinic for recovering opioid users like the one in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Janine Underwood is the executive director. Janine’s son, Bobby, died of fentanyl in June of 2015,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Jamie Waldrop and Janine Underwood of the Hope Initiative are opposed to buprenorphine because, based on the experience of... (full context)
Chapter 11
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Janine Underwood is still grieving the death of her son, Bobby, to fentanyl, but she puts... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Even among Hope Initiative members like Janine, the harm reduction approach to opioid treatment is controversial. Still, she tries to keep an... (full context)
Epilogue
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 the Hope Initiative regularly, tired of... (full context)