Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC


America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth: One Reporter's Stories

Tue, March 7, 2023
Dinner Program
Sam Quinones

Long-time journalist and author Sam Quinones’ latest book, The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth, deepens the story of our nation’s opioid epidemic to include the spread of mass supplies of synthetic drugs, specifically fentanyl (the deadliest drug ever on US streets) and meth, and delves into the neuroscience of addiction while also acknowledging the small, unnoticed stories of Americans involved in community repair in the midst of a national, deadly drug epidemic.

Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of four acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction.

His most recent book is The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth, released in 2021. The book follows his 2015 release,  Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic.

Both books are critically acclaimed. In January 2022, The Least of Us was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) award for Best Nonfiction Book of 2021.

Quinones’ career as a journalist has spanned 35 years. He lived for 10 years as a freelance writer in Mexico, where he wrote his first two books. In 2004, he returned to the United States to work for the L.A. Times, covering immigration, drug trafficking, neighborhood stories, and gangs.

In 2014, he resigned from the paper to return to freelancing, working for National Geographic, Pacific Standard Magazine, the New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and other publications. 

Columbia Journalism School selected him as a 2008 recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot prize, for a career of excellence in covering Latin America. He is also a 1998 recipient of an Alicia Patterson Fellowship, one of the most prestigious fellowships given to print journalists.

For several years, he taught Tell Your True Tale writing workshops at East LA Library, the stories of which he posted on his storytelling webpage of the same name.

A graduate of Claremont High School, he studied economics and history at UC Berkeley.


View Video: You Tube with Sam Quinones


Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Claremont McKenna College
385 E. Eighth Street
Claremont, CA 91711


Phone: (909) 621-8244 
Fax: (909) 621-8579