The Wrong Way to Fight the Opoid Crisis

After Jamie Maynard, of Ohio, became addicted to opioids, she sometimes scored hits for other users. When one overdosed, she became the subject of a homicide investigation.Photograph by Justine Kurland for The New Yorker

Jamie Maynard’s husband, Timothy, abused drugs, and he hit her. In 2012, after four years of marriage, she left him. Jamie and her two small sons moved in with her parents, postal workers who lived west of Columbus, Ohio, in a tidy white house amid soybean fields. Jamie quit her job, at Old Navy, to work as a state-licensed dealer at the Hollywood Casino, which paid much better—nearly three thousand dollars a month, plus benefits. The Columbus press compared the casino’s façade to a “corrections center just waiting for its barbed wire fence to be installed,” but Jamie, who was twenty-three, found the place exciting.

Gamblers often sought out flamboyant dealers who tapped their tips jar and cried, “Tokes for the folks!” Jamie preferred not to be noticed. She liked working the busiest shift—from eight at night until four in the morning—partly because she was less likely to be left standing alone at a gaming table, feeling exposed.