Carlyn Zwarenstein is a freelance journalist who writes about medicine, literature, poverty, travel, and mental states. She has contributed to the Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, the Guardian, the Walrus, Canadian Geographic, and others. Her first book, Opium Eater: the New Confessions, is an intense, novella-length meditation on opioids and pain. It combines a lyrical look at opioids in literature with rigorous science journalism, a provocative analysis of how the medical system and public policies fail people with addiction and people with pain, and a darkly funny memoir that takes readers through visceral experiences of pain and its relief with opioids. Opium Eater, published modestly by a micro-press, was named a best book of 2016 by The Globe and Mail. Carlyn is expanding that book into a full-length exploration of pain, opioid use and dependence, the current overdose and addiction crises, and why people use drugs.
Carlyn lives with her family in Toronto.