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Feature

Ramin unpacks opioid crisis response in The Age of Fentanyl

By Brodie Ramin       

The following is an excerpt from Brodie Ramin’s Donner-nominated book The Age of Fentanyl: Ending the Opioid Epidemic.

Brodie Ramin is author of The Age of Fentanyl: Ending the Opioid Epidemic, published by Dundurn Press. It's one of five books nominated for this year’s Donner Prize for the best public policy book of the year. ‘Writing the book helped me get through the difficult experiences—the overdoses, the deaths, the challenging cases. I felt that by trying to understand and explain what was happening, it gave more meaning to some of those difficult moments, for me, my patients, and their families.' Photograph courtesy of Dundurn Press/Donner Prize

One day on vacation last summer, I did something stupid. As the sun was just beginning to rise and while everyone else was sleeping, I sat outside in the cool morning, looked up briefly at Lake Ontario stretching toward the horizon, and began to read Mayhem by Sigrid Rausing. I had pre-ordered the book months earlier, so when it arrived a few days before we left for the cottage, I decided to bring it along. As I read the first sentence, I had a premonition that it might not be vacation reading. The book began like this: “Now that it’s all over I find myself thinking about family history and family memories; the stories that hold a family together, and the acts that can split it apart.” But it was what followed that should have set off an alarm and led me to put the book away until I was back at work, surrounded by the daily grind of emergency room reports and letters from the coroner. Rausing wrote, “I used to think that no act was irreversible; that decisions taken and mistakes made could, on the whole, be put right. Now I know that certain acts in life are irreversible and lead you to landscapes you never dreamt of.”

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