On Pills and Needles: The Relentless Fight to Save My Son from Opioid Addiction is a touching memoir by Rick Van Warner. The book is sadly very relevant for today. The United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic; according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an average of 116 people died every day from opiod-related drug overdoses in 2016. As Van Warner shows his son’s struggles, he also shows that those addicted to opioids are much more than a statistic on a piece of paper – they are someone’s child, sibling, spouse, or parent.
Van Warner examines factors that may have contributed to his son’s addiction, and we see the extreme toll that addiction takes on both an addict and his family. On Pills and Needles would be a good book for parents of troubled teenagers, and it may bring hope to parents who are facing what seem like insurmountable obstacles with their wayward children. The book also serves as an interesting memoir, following the Van Warner’s emotional journey, and giving a glimpse into the utter destructiveness of drugs.