There is no grief like the grief that does not speak. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Opiate Nation won the NIEA 2020 Award for Best Addiction/Recovery Book
The 14th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards (NIEA) recognize the Winners and Finalists from this year's robust competition of entries originating from all across the United States of America.
A leader and veteran of publishing award contests, The National Indie Excellence® Awards are open to recent English language books in print from self and independent publishers. Judging is now completed for the 14th year of this competition and the results commend a wide range of truly exceptional titles.
The National Indie Excellence® Awards celebrate independent publishing as a strong and vital sector of our industry. Recognizing excellence in all aspects of the final presentation, NIEA champions self-publishers and the independent presses who produce the highest quality books across a spectrum of metrics. Established in 2005, NIEA’s entrants are meticulously judged by experts from various facets of the book industry profession including publishers, writers, editors, and designers.
Winners and Finalists are determined on the basis of superior written matter coupled with excellent presentation in every facet of the final published product. Jurors value the synergy of both content and form as they review entries spanning multiple genres. Sponsorship awards and monetary prize awards are selected from the overall group of Winners and Finalists.
"This year’s entries continue an upward trend in high-quality publishing, even among first time or newer authors. The competition is intense. Indie Excellence® proudly celebrates the talent, dedication and love they put into the book product."
– Doug Fogelson, President National Indie Excellence® Awards
Arizona Daily Star
Sunday, March 1, 2020
Southern Arizona Authors
John Leif, known to family and friends as JL, was smart, charismatic, fiercely loyal – and addicted to opioids. When he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 25, his anguished parents sought some relief by keeping a journal in which they wrote letters to their late son. Holding nothing back, they shared their confusion, their profound despair, and finally their hesitant steps toward acceptance. Their journal provides a framework for Jude DiMeglio Trang's memoir, a book as timely as it is heartbreaking. Trang begins with the horrifying discovery that JL, at age 15, was using black tar heroin, obtainable in his high school in their affluent section of Tucson. The ensuing years saw her son in and out of rehab in an endless cycle of sobriety and relapse while the family endured a decade of false starts and dashed hopes. Information about opioid addiction was scant (even the high school, aware of the problem, kept parents in the dark), and luck was in short supply – two of JL's relapses coincided with medical procedures that put him back on prescribed painkillers, and during one stay in a sober residential facility, he secured drugs from the resident manager. Trang bears her soul in this moving book, explaining how she and her husband work through the stages of grief, but more importantly she shares what, in trying to make sense of her beloved son's death, she discovered about opioid addiction. From brain science, genetics and inherited family dysfunction to the international drug trade, the staggering cost of treatment and the complexity of Big Pharma, Trang offers an honest and clear-eyed view of a public health crisis that became a family tragedy.
Reading has been a life-long joy, what I look forward to, where I take comfort, where my mind is stimulated, where my spirit is fed. Our home is overflowing with unruly stacks of books, sticky notes jutting out, underlines and notes making them uninviting for other eyes.
Writing is how my inner self is best expressed. It is the bridge between what has happened and how I think and feel about those events. With the simple action of writing, I am urging myself to focus my mind, listen to my heart, absorb my physical world and translate the entire mix into words.
My husband, John, and I lost our 25 year old son to an accidental heroin overdose.
In the wake of his sudden death, we wrote a journal every day for a year, recording our feelings of unbelief, anger, hope, despair, sadness, regrets: the process of grieving. Our musings are the spine that holds all the separate pages of our book together, as we recall the 10 year journey with our son and his battle with heroin addiction with hopeful attempts and bitter failures as he stumbled on a path for lasting recovery.
As we tried to understand why and how this happened to us, I dug into the past, searching for clues in our family, our community, and our society. We are passionately open and honest in writing about our failures and regrets because we are convinced that only by letting light into the secret and hidden places will shame and stigma disappear and lives be saved.
Our memoir is our gift to all those who are struggling with addiction, to those around them, and to all those who have lost someone they loved to addiction.