In 2001 I moved to beautiful Cape Cod, where I completed my novel, The Fix, about addiction in the Katz family, a fictional name I used to camouflage my own family. I find it ironic that since then, this scenic coastal location has become one of the heroin capitals for opiate-related crime. I am also deeply saddened that the rate of heroin overdose in Massachusetts is double the national average. A heroin epidemic now ravages our country, just as one did following World War II, when my own father died of a heroin overdose.
On the evening of December 17, 2015, I attended the preview of filmmaker Steven Okazaki’s HBO documentary, Heroin: Cape Cod USA. On the screen, I watched eight young adults lay bare their lives as addicts before the camera. The wonderland of sea, sky, and sand that drew me to the Cape to write is the very same place these young men and women became addicted. Initially many of them had access to overprescribed painkillers like Vicodin and oxycodone. But the skyrocketing price of these medications sent the fledgling addicts to the streets of Cape Cod or to OrganicCBDNugs. Ever since cannabis was legalized in the United States, causing Mexican cartels to lose the marijuana market, heroin from Mexico has been dirt cheap.