Essay: American Carnage

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  • Subject area(s): English literature essays
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  • Published on: August 6, 2018
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  • American Carnage
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After reading ¨American Carnage¨, I was amazed to learn how much of a business drug dealing really is. Drug dealers and drug addicts are given a multitude of opportunities to make money, and often, they do. They attain drugs from pharmacies and other people, and are able to then sell those drugs to other people in order to turn a profit. They have their own economy and complex trading system, and it interests me how, just like the normal economy, the prices of certain drugs sold on the street rise over time. However, even though it is extremely interesting that this happens, it is a complex system that would benefit people more if it did not exist. It is important to remember how dangerous drugs are, and how reckless people can be with those drugs once they attain them. This is a problem that has occured throughout history, and a plethora of laws, rules, and bans have been made concerning drugs like opioids, fentanyl, heroin, and morphine. However, the article pointed out that this problem, which has occurred throughout history, was partly due to the government giving more power to companies and allowing them to govern themselves. This struck me as interesting because the government, especially when dealing with drugs, is looked at as the good guy, and the drug addicts and dealers using them are looked at as the bad guys. However, now that I know the facts, I can clearly see that that isn’t the case at all. Many of the people addicted to drugs got hooked through companies introducing new drugs into the world that they said were safe, when they really weren’t. This is a big reason that this problem has become so bad, and it is so bad that it is being classified as a national epidemic. It is ravaging throughout America, and more deaths have come from drugs like these than ever before. The government has taken many steps to try and moderate this issue, but I believe there are further steps that can be taken in order to do so. I believe that young generations, like ourselves, should always be reminded and taught about the effects that drugs can have on people when used for the wrong things. They should know the potential side effects, consequences, and bad things that can come from the drugs that are apparent in todayś ravaging drug epidemic.


I found “American Carnage” to be extremely informative on the opioid epidemic, as well as very well-written. The journalist gave examples that intensified the opioid epidemic, and showed America the bad path it is currently pursuing.

The first of the examples the journalist provided is a rehab center in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. One of the frequent members there, Jonathan Goyer, got hooked on heroin to the point where had OD’d several times. He claims that everyone that has been hooked on drugs as he was should probably be dead, and he is probably correct. Goyes comes from a family that has been plagued by the opioid epidemic, his father died of an overdose in 2004 and his brother OD’d and died in 2009. This taught me how opioids could ruin a whole family.

Another example the journalist gave that I found informative were some statistics showing how horribly opioids have affected America. According to the journalist, fifty two thousand Americans died of overdoses in 2015, which is nearly half the amount of people that died by getting in a car accident that year. This taught me how frequently opioid-caused deaths have been occuring. Before reading this article, I thought that opioids could rarely kill people without fentanyl, but these statistics suggest otherwise.

These examples are two among the many the journalist provided to show how horribly opioids are affecting our country. I hope this article is read by many other people because it could provide others with knowledge on the overall horrific affect the opioid epidemic has had on America as it did to me.


After reading “American Carnage” by Christopher Caldwell, I found that there was a lot I did not know about the opioid and fentanyl epidemic in America. There’s an experience both the dealer and the addict have that plays a big part in the crisis. But what particularly surprised me was how little people have done to try to help addicts and the problem itself.

Especially in the United States, hundreds of addicts overdose everyday and those with the power to help them and others do nearly nothing. Like Caldwell says, “After five decades of alarm over threats that were small by comparison, politicians and the media have offered only a muted response” (Caldwell 2). Most people don’t understand what these addicts go through and what has caused them to turn to drugs, and those that do don’t have the ability to help them.

I learned that it is very hard to prevent people from having access to opioids and fentanyl and that in the past most people have just cut of their access to it. However, that cannot be a long-term solution. The real struggle is how to tell who needs medicine, and who is an addict. In the end, doctors and pharmacists are really just guessing who actually needs it.

Overall I think this article taught me how not only the users and the dealers, but also the rest of society play an important role in this crisis. Currently, politicians and powerful figures in society are the ones who can help, and it depends if the can and will.


After reading “American Carnage by Christopher Caldwell, I found that there was a lot of information given with real life evidence. The article showed the relationship between the dealer and the addict, and what the addict was willing to go through to get the drugs. I was surprised that even after the amount of overdoses that happened in the United States of America, the government has done to solve the problem. I realize that you can’t just take someone of their drugs just like that as they could they because of the withdrawal symptoms which could lead to death. The article also put in stories when addicts got cured, showing if an addict ws reading this article he could also be cured.

Jonathan Goyer’s father and brother died of an overdose and he almost did too, but he was cured. Now he goes to visit people after they overdosed and tells them “I was right where you’re at.” This story really shows that addicts can be cured.

Overall I really wonder why people who have power in the world, don’t try to invest in stopping the drug abusers and overdoses. This has been a problem for many years now, from the vietnamese war to present day.


After reading “American Carnage,” I am surprised on the amount of information that the author displayed in his essay. I learned a lot about the relations between the addict, the dealer, the public, and the government. With the addicts, I had already known about the extreme addictions that comes from using opioids, but I never stopped to really think about what they would do to get more drugs or would what happen if they tried to stop. The addicts listed in this essay really give a good, clear image on the power of the drugs. With people who can identify highs, people who steal and commit crimes to continue his or her addiction. These people do not care for the dangerous effects of the strength, if they see a story of an overdose death, they will think about how to get that kind of high, and not the high risk of death that will come. I also learned about how companies and the government itself were partly responsible for the epidemic, as Reaganism allowed companies to operate with more self-governance, allowing to be more free-willed. This worked, but allowed medical companies, like Purdue, to start producing opioids, like Oxytocin, with marketing efforts that labeled it as saf
e. This unfortunately attracted many addicts to use it for highs, and also made a new generation for addicts. So in turn, it was actually the people now trying to stop the epidemic that started it in the first place.


After reading “American Carnage”by Christopher Caldwell I was shocked and amazed to see what recovering addicts and even addicts in general went through. My way of going about all of this is think of yourself as a kid in a candy store and apparently this is the same way with them. It is more of their “safe” thing to do in dealing with stress and pain; it relieves everything for them. I was however shocked to see what serious side effects and how much mental and physical trauma these drugs can do to us. Now that I know that kids my age use such items you really can not trust anyone.

What I really found interesting about all of this was the drugs in general throughout

reading the article it has shown to be very detailed and have good explanations on the drugs they are talking about. With this is shows about the drug, who uses it, and how it affects us. Reading about this it has proven to really make me aware about everyday life and to not really judge people as hard. Retiring drug addicts are honestly memorable for their effort to fight it in meaning that they really want to get better but it is hard. Stopping such a serious “disease” is hard and to fight it requires a lot of passion.

Honestly in the whole run up of things you should not really use drugs as a final resort because in the end there will always be something else to be there for you. You should be thankful that you were even put in this world. To sum up this peace I think it was a very well written and educated essay about drugs and it has taught me a lot.


After reading “American Carnage” I learned a lot about opioids that I did not know before. I learned that so many people died of overdoses through the years. I learned that politicians and media were not addressing this and Trump got a lot of credit for mentioning it. In the 19th century scientists isolated morphine, the active ingredient in opium, and in the 1850s the hypodermic needle was invented. Opioids helped soldiers with the pain but were highly addictive. Doctors also prescribed opiates to women for menstrual cramps and hysteria. The “acetalization” of the morphine led to the creation of heroin. It took almost 100 years before drug companies could talk them back into using drugs like. Heroin is very bad and highly addictive. If people overdose they’re breathing slows down until they die. If people who are addicted do not get drugs for a certain amount of time they go through withdrawal. If these people do not receive medical treatment the symptoms are very painful and embarrassing. People believe that the best way for society to avoid the dangers of addictive drugs is to restrict access to them. Even though people want to restrict access to these drugs it is still very easy to get ahold of them. After being addicted for a long time and buying drugs every time these people had needs for it a lot of money is spent. So much money is spent that people will scavenge for money in the strangest places. They will also do the strangest things. People are trying to limit the amount of drugs and are trying to restrict then. This epidemic is so serious and needs to be dealt with more than it is now. I learned so much from this article. I learned about how many people were addicted and how many OD’d. I learned how these drugs affected people and how hard it was to be clean. I learned that many people are trying to restrict the amount of drugs that are accessible and they are doing what they can to help the people who are already addicted and want to become clean.


The paragraph that struck me the most was the one that spoke about the medical consequences of using heroin. The fact that after withdrawal, even very small doses can kill you was scary to me, and it made me realize that because drugs are illegal, there is no official standard to go by in terms of what is the “right” dose. I also realized that drugs are not regulated, so people can put anything in drugs and not tell buyers, so you might think you were getting high on marijuana, but you were actually getting high on fentanyl. I was also shocked by the fact that the same bag of drugs could either not get you high at all, or kill you from an overdose. I was saddened by how callous that these addicts had become, viewing the tragic death of another person as an opportunity to get high. I wondered if the Chinese companies that were sourced for producing fentanyl were making it for legitimate causes, or for sale on the black market. Because of the disparity in the potency of the same drug due to lack of regulations, addicts can either die because of an overdose or go into complete withdrawal. I believe the best way to treat this is to put addicts in rehabilitation upon arrest but to ease them out of it instead of just making them suddenly quit, which has very bad medical consequences. If addiction is not treated as a disease, it will have consequences not only on the addict and his/her community, but on our country as a whole, because life expectancy will drop, and crimes such as prostitution, shoplifting, burglary, murder, and assault will rise dramatically because addicts will do anything to get money for drugs. Another, more drastic option would be to legalize these drugs only for end of life care, which would allow for regulations on recreational drug use and create harder penalties on people who put fentanyl or other substances in drugs, Overall, this really made me think about drug addiction in a new way, as a medical condition that has criminal implications.


After reading “American Carnage” by Christopher Caldwell, I am much more informed about drugs and the effects of them. When I was little, and even now, my parents never let me take pills or any medicine even is prescribed by a doctor because of the risk that I might become addicted and start to rely on the pill to make me feel better. Growing up, there was a lot of news about drug abuse and about people dying of an overdose; but not nearly as much as there is nowadays. Almost everyday, there is a new story, a new headline about an opioid abuse, or about someone dying of drug overdose. In this article Christopher Caldwell talks a lot about drug dealing, and a lot about how different drugs affect different people and different places. For example, in Rhode Island. Rhode Island has a population of just over a million people and it is estimated that 20,000 of them are opioid addicts (which is two percent of their population). The article also touches on the different things certain drugs can do to you. For example, it states, “if you take too much heroin, your breathing slows until you die…[users quickly develop a tolerance, requiring higher and higher amounts to get the same effect.”

This article has not only taught me about drugs and drug abuse, but it has taught me a lot about the drug abusers, and the addicts.


I learned from this article about the lying by the medicine about opioids. I learned a bit about the history of opiates and how they were first used. Doctors have been prescribing these drugs knowing how dangerous they are. It has only been the last few years people have noticed. But this is after talented people like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Heath Ledger’s lives have ended because of these drugs. In West Virginia 28 people died of overdose in four hours. It is estimated that 2 percent of Rhode Island’s population are opioid addicts. The continuation of this crisis can be blamed on multiple things, the government has not done enough to combat this, there are too many people addicted so it would take years to keep all of it under control, d
octors need to be questioned about patients that have become addicted. If we can get rid of the doctors causing the problem we can stop the flow of these drugs through the black market we can lower the overdose rates. But, quality of health will drop because there will not be enough doctors to keep everyone healthy. This crisis is serious and this article says that very well and portrays the severity of this situation quite well.


After reading ¨American Carnage¨, I learned that opioids are a large crisis throughout America. Fifty-two thousand Americans died of overdoses in 2015. This is a very big epidemic over the United States. A professional epidemiologist estimated that Rhode Island, the smallest state in the world, has 20,000 opioid addicts. West Virginia saw twenty-eight overdoses in four hours. The essay also talked about the drug dealing business and I learned something from that. Drug dealers and can make some money by selling it to the opioid addicts. They can make profit from getting drugs from pharmacies or other people and then sell it for a higher value to the addicts. They have their own economy just like others. Some prices rise overtime and others don’t. Although some people like this, it should not be existent at all. These drugs that people buy could kill them and harm their future. This opioid epidemic is very serious and should stop as soon as possible. This has been a very big problem over the years. Opioid addicts have been dying because of these drugs and is not benefiting many people at all. Everyone should read this article to see the real causes it can make on anybody. This essay taught me the effects of drug abuse and to never do drugs.


Saurav Patel

I was surprised after many facts that were brought up in the passage, “American Carnage.” I was surprised about how many drug companies try to create opium products and advertise them to people saying that they are less harmful and better for you. Another thing I learned is that 52 thousand people died from an opioid overdose in 2016. This taught me that many people are dying just from opioids. I think that this number of deaths is preventable and should go down to only about a few thousand in about 5 years.

The article says that these opioids are also being manufactured in Chinese factories, and being snuck onto the ships and becoming available to the drug addicts. I think one was to stop all the opioids deaths is to have a checkup on all the ships cargo, and make sure that there are no opioids that could get into the hands of drug dealers.

One solution that I think is smart is educating people about these drugs. Today, many schools have health class, and at some point, the students learn how bad drugs and opioids can be for you. They learn what had happened to other victims. I think that they american government should look at governments with less people addicted, and see their strategies.


“American Carnage”, taught me many interesting and terrifying facts about opioids and what they have done to our country. The article also gives a completely new perspective on the opioid crisis. In the small town of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 15 people over the last two years have lost their lives because of heroin overdose. The town’s total population is only 8,000 people and they only lost one person during the entire Vietnam war. When I read this I was shocked. Normally someone might think that this town would lose more people in a deadly war than in drugs that can be controlled by Americans. This fact gave me a completely different perspective on the opioid crisis. When a person hears a horrific fact such as the holocaust they can’t really imagine the horrors that the people in the holocaust went through. In order for that person to understand they would have it related to something they do understand like the loss of one of our soldiers.


I believe that “American Carnage” gave a new perspective on the Opioid Crisis. Unlike conventional articles about the Crisis, this one gave the reader a lot of information about what is actually going on with the addicts and the business of opioids. The author was once an addict and knows exactly what other addicts are doing to get their drugs, and what was happening to them during this times. “American Carnage” made me look at the Opioid Crisis in a whole new way. Instead of a widespread problem caused by people not knowing how to stop, it is a widespread problem caused by people who resist getting help. It also showed me what the market for drugs really was. Buying drugs is like buy fish at a supermarket. They are priced based upon their weight and some places sell them for a cheaper price than others. The article talks about how if a certain drug was cheaper in Boston than New York, some people will go to buy the drug in Boston and then resell it in New York. The article also made a point about non-addicts and addicts being in two different words. An addict would not take the counseling of someone who has never been an addict seriously because the sober person would not know what the addict is experiencing. That is one of the reasons why some people who do get counseling end up overdosing again. The author also shows his knowledge in fentanyl by describing some different types and how, when it is packaged, it can be a gamble to get a safe dosage. The author is like Charles Baker from the movie Planet 51. He has been to the foreign world(addicts) and has returned to his home planet(non-addicts). His insight on the world of an addict is what allows “American Carnage” to transform the readers view on the Opioid Crisis.


I have learned a lot from reading the article, American Carnage. This piece showed me the atrocity of opioid abuse from first hand experience. Jonathan Goyer is an recovered addict whose family died from overdose. He helped me uncover facts that only if you experienced it you would know. I was also able to realize just how common addiction is in the US. He now helps run a community center which helps drug addicts. This shows that there is still hope in living a normal life. One eye opening fact which really changed my perspective was that one third of all US Citizens have prescribed painkillers. One thing that really disappointed me was that scientists created a pill which could be safe for addicts, yet the addicts used their ingenuity to find ways to release all of the narcotics at once. I hope that one day scientist will find a way to help opiod addicts recover and live their life. Gilberto anoughter ex addict says that he injected three fifty bags of heroin a day. Overall I feel that because of the opium epidemic I have learned more of the issue at hand and feel that I can understand the whole picture.


After reading the article, “American Carnage” by Christopher Caldwell, I have got the ability to see a new aspect, or perspective, of, not only the American Opioid Crisis which has resumed as of 2016, the addicts and abusers too. This is because the author, Christopher Caldwell, was an addict once himself. Even though he got help and lost his addiction for these drugs, he can explain the world how and where people attain them. In my opinion, the most interesting part of the article itself is the title itself. Caldwell explained that, during his inaugural address, President Trump called this drug epidemic a “carnage,” and although many people though he was over exaggerating or using the wrong word for the crisis, it appears that the term “carnage” can properly suit what is going on. I also learned about the differences between “street” heroin and fentanyl. An addict that was known as Gilberto was interviewed and it was revealed that could tell the difference between the two. It was sad to me that these people would do
anything to gather the money to pay for their drugs. Caldwell mentioned that some people would look for lost receipts and then go to the store, find that product, and return it for money to buy their drugs. All in all, the drug epidemic that is happening right now is unbelievable and is causing much damage to people all over the United States.


After reading the article, “American Carnage” by Christopher Caldwell, I was able to get a new view of the opioid epidemic. Not just from the view from a reporter, but one from a former addict himself. It makes me think how bad it is when someone who was addicted to opioids, looks over this epidemic. The passage starts off with “We should all be dead” as Jonathan Goyer states to the whole room full of recovering patients and coworkers. It shows that even with the horrible chances of opioid addicts there is a way out of this, and with enough help and people working together this can be solved. Another thing I have learned is the great effects of opioids in small towns like Marblehead, Maryland.where over the last year there were 26 overdoses and four death from opioids


While reading “American Carnage: The New Landscape of Opioid Addiction” by Christopher Caldwell, I learned about the pain of withdrawal, the troubles in the business of drug dealing, how the business changed overtime, and how hard it is to overcome addiction. Jonathan Goyer is a man who helps run the Anchor Recovery Community Center in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I admire him because, even though he had overdosed many times in the past, he was able to overcome it and is now helping people who are in the same position he was once in. I believe that this is helpful because he is able to relate and sympathize with them, which helps them see that is possible to overcome addiction. I am however disappointed in the fact that when a heroin addict sees another drug addict on TV who had overdosed and died, their first thought is where is where can I find those drugs, because that is what I want. While I understood that Oxycontin was one of the most commercially successful among the many new opioids, I was not aware that the company’ sole owners was number sixteen on the Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s richest families. I was horrified when learning that America’s that one of America’s Richest families collected so much money by selling drugs as pain relievers. The author compares the population of addicts to the population of deer by writing that it is most common in rural areas, which I find interesting.


After reading “American Carnage, I learned that drug addiction is a more serious issue than what I originally thought. This addiction makes people shoplift, sell their bodies, and be in prison. An example of this is Goyer. His family members died of overdoses, and he himself had overdoses as well. There were times where he will pass out on a garage floor from doing drugs. Looking at the casualties of overdoses being higher compared to gun homicides and car accidents surprised me because up to this point, I thought these were the major causes of deaths in America. This fact also scares me because this issue had been invisible to me until now. I also learned that your body slowly becomes immune to the effects of the drug which makes you get a stronger dose every time. This is deadly because the drug addict will keep taking it until he/she dies. While this article says the best way to avoid drug addiction is to restrict the access to it, I strongly disagree to this. Drug addicts will eventually find a way to get their hands on drugs even if you restrict access to them, so I think restricting the drugs is futile. An example of this is when drug addicts will pretend that they have a serious toothache and go to the hospital to get painkillers. Pain is something that only the patient can describe so it is difficult to know if the person is actually in pain. Therefore, I think it is necessary to completely get rid of drugs in order to stop this “carnage”.


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