Jack Shuler


This Is Ohio

The Overdose Crisis and the Front Lines of a New America

Winner of the 2019-2020 Malott Prize for Recording Community Activism
Winner of the 2020 Richard Frisbie Award for Adult Nonfiction from the Society of Midland Authors

For readers of Dopesick and Dreamland, journalist Jack Shuler explores the current addiction crisis as a human rights problem fostered by poverty and inadequate health care in this “insightful look at how the issues in Ohio affect the rest of the country” (Cosmopolitan, A Best Nonfiction Book of the Year).

Tainted drug supplies, inadequate civic responses, and prevailing negative opinions about people who use drugs, the poor, and those struggling with mental health issues lead to thousands of preventable deaths each year while politicians are slow to adopt effective policies. Putting themselves at great personal risk (and often breaking the law to do so), the brave men and women profiled in This Is Ohio are mounting a grassroots effort to combat ineffective and often incorrect ideas about addiction and instead focus on saving lives through commonsense harm reduction policies.

Opioids are the current face of addiction, but as Shuler shows, the crisis in our midst is one that has long been fostered by income inequality, the loss of manufacturing jobs across the Rust Belt, and lack of access to health care. What is playing out in Ohio today isn’t only about opioids, but rather a decades–long economic and sociological shift in small towns all across the United States. It’s also about a larger culture of stigma at the heart of how we talk about addiction. What happens in Ohio will have ramifications felt across the nation and for decades to come.