Dopesick

Dopesick

by

Beth Macy

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Dopesick can help.

Jesse Bolstridge Character Analysis

Jesse Bolstridge, son of Kristi Fernandez, was a former star high school linebacker who died of an overdose in 2013. As a boy, Jesse was popular and excitable, but eventually his energetic behavior in class gets him a prescription for Ritalin. In time, he moves on from Ritalin to more serious painkillers, trading Adderall to his high school classmates in exchange for stronger stuff. At first, he’s able to hide his habit from his mother, but eventually his problem becomes too large to cover up. Eventually, Jesse is sent to rehab, and he is weaned off of opiates via MAT—a controversial practice now that was more common at the time. The former start athlete becomes a construction worker and starts stealing things from his family to fuel his addiction, but he still struggles with money. Just before his death, Jesse is scheduled to fly out to Florida for another attempt at treatment, but his friend Dennis invites him to go on one last bender, in part because both of them are struggling with dopesickness. Jesse agrees, and this leads to his fatal overdose. Jesse’s life represents not just the incredible power that opioids are able to exert over addicts but also the many frustrating questions that addicts leave behind for their families when they ultimately succumb to the drug.

Jesse Bolstridge Quotes in Dopesick

The Dopesick quotes below are all either spoken by Jesse Bolstridge or refer to Jesse Bolstridge. 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
).
Prologue Quotes

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 8 Quotes

NIDA, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and the White House drug czar’s office would all agree that indefinite (and maybe even lifelong) maintenance treatment is superior to abstinence-based rehab for opioid-use disorder. And even Hazelden, the Betty Ford-affiliated center that originated the concept of the twenty-eight-day rehab, changed its stance on medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, offering Suboxone to some patients in 2012.

But the rehab Jesse went to was aimed at abstinence, as most were, then and now.

Related Characters: Jesse Bolstridge, Kristi Fernandez
Page Number: 174
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:
Get the entire Dopesick LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dopesick PDF

Jesse Bolstridge Character Timeline in Dopesick

The timeline below shows where the character Jesse Bolstridge appears in Dopesick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...angle, Macy visits Kristi Fernandez in Strasburg, Virginia, in the spring of 2016. Kristi’s son, Jesse, has died of an overdose and was buried with a headstone that carries the number... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Jesse was a popular, energetic boy in a small town where football is everything. Kristi and... (full context)
Chapter 1
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
In the Shenandoah Valley, a preschool teacher tells Kristi Fernandez that her then-four-year-old son, Jesse, is too wild in class, so a doctor suggests Ritalin. Two years later, Kristi tries... (full context)
Chapter 5
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
In Roanoke, 2012 is the end of the opioid epidemic’s stealth phase. Jesse Bolstridge is a high school student who trades his Adderall to classmates in exchange for... (full context)
Chapter 8
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
...his desk. The case is for the September 2013 death of high school football star Jesse Bolstridge; Wolthuis suspects this death was related to the FUBI heroin ring. Wolthuis, at age... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Kristi Fernandez (Jesse’s mother) is worried in May 2013, when Jesse asks to come home from an Asheville... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Jesse is weaned off his medical detox—a common practice at the time that becomes more controversial... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
After returning home from the sober house, Jesse takes a construction job with his father in the D.C. suburbs—a 90-mile commute one-way from... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
In late September 2013, Jesse is scheduled to fly to Jacksonville for another attempt at treatment. His friend Dennis, however,... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
The next morning, Dennis and some other friends reportedly leave Jesse alone for two hours, then come back to find him unconscious in the bathroom with... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
Shaw, however, is more willing to talk when he is arrested four months after Jesse’s death. He tells Metcalf about a documentary on YouTube where Mack’s face is clearly featured.... (full context)
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Jesse’s 2013 heroin death is one of 8,257 in the U.S. that year, a 39 percent... (full context)
Fighting the Medical Establishment Theme Icon
Two weeks before Jesse’s 2013 death, the FDA notifies Barbara Van Rooyan that part of her petition to recall... (full context)
Chapter 12
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
...in Woodstock. She dreads telling Kristi how little light her interview with Ronnie shed on Jesse’s death. Kristi still visits her son’s grave several times each month and has recently worked... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
...A day after Macy interviews Ronnie, she finally tells Kristi that Ronnie doesn’t even recognize Jesse’s name. (full context)