Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic

Eric Eyre. Scribner, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-98210-531-0
Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Eyre expands his Pulitzer Prize–winning investigation into the role of pharmaceutical distribution companies in West Virginia’s opioid epidemic in this riveting and essential debut. Eyre begins by relating the 2005 overdose death of former coal miner William “Bull” Preece, who became hooked on Oxycontin and Lortab after suffering a back injury on the job. His sister, Debbie, became an anti-opioid crusader and her lawyers eventually contacted Eyre, who in 2013 was covering West Virginia’s lawsuit against wholesale drug distributors, including Fortune 500 companies Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, for flooding the market with pain pills. Eyre eloquently interweaves the story of Debbie’s pursuit of justice on behalf of her brother with his own battles against West Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey, whose ties to the pharmaceutical industry called into question his commitment to pursuing the state’s lawsuit. As Eyre labored—ultimately successfully—to pry information from obfuscating drug firms and government agencies, he was also contending with Parkinson’s disease and his small-town newspaper’s financial woes. Packed with colorful details and startling statistics, this page-turning journalistic thriller shines a brilliant spotlight on a national tragedy. Agent: Frances Coady, Aragi Inc. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/17/2019
Release date: 03/31/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0468-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0470-6
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