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Reviewed by Judith Rook for Readers' Favorite
Heartbroken: Grief and Hope inside the Opioid Crisis is written by Ellen Krohne, Diana Cuddeback and Matthew Ellis—three highly experienced and articulate US health and social professionals whose intention is to “… inform the reader as a starting place for healing.” The main core of the text is the accounts of the effects of seven overdose deaths through addictions, which began with the use of opioid drugs. However, the informed insights and understanding built around the harrowing stories take the book far beyond the condition of simple anecdotes and make it fundamentally relevant to any concerned individual or to society as a whole.
The book offers knowledge about the history of the use and abuse of opioids in the US and deals with two main concepts—the stigma associated with suicide and the ‘unrespected’ grief suffered by family members. The text steers away from the tradition of blame and punishment. Even the concept of personal choice as the basis for drug addiction is expertly presented as the tragic circumstance it is.
Heartbroken: Grief and Hope inside the Opioid Crisis is not a book to be read lightly, but it should be read, even by people who have not had direct experience of drug addiction and the overdose death of a loved person. It illuminates one of the greatest negative factors within contemporary Western society and presents some unpalatable facts, but at the same time, it reveals the beginning of a path which our society can follow, which ultimately may lead out of the opioid crisis.