Last week, the Washington Post published an article titled “American Cartel”, in which they documented the problems that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and local law enforcement agencies have with cartels, drug cartels Americans.
You might think it’s the Mexican drug cartels that are causing huge drug problems in the United States. This is only partially true. Seeing potential for massive profits, the US pharmaceutical industry drug cartels of opioid manufacturers, such as Purdue Pharma (the Sackler family), Endo, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Cardinal Health, Teva Pharmaceuticals, McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, CVS and Walgreens have made billions in profits while peddling their painkillers (opioids) to unsuspecting America. They told us that their painkillers were not addictive. They lied.
OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin are marketed as pain relievers, when in fact they may be a highly addictive form of morphine. In 2006, Purdue Pharma manufactured 130 million tablets of OxyContin. That same year, Mallinckrodt, a pharmaceutical giant that had managed to avoid the limelight, manufactured 3.6 billion opioid pills, nearly 30 times more than Purdue. Mallinckrodt’s pills became so popular on the black market that users and dealers called them “Blues” or “30s”. Last year, the United States recorded more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths, most from fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin.
How serious is the opioid problem in the United States? In 2016, a local report in the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that multiple drug companies had delivered more than 780 million prescription opioid pills to West Virginia over the past six years, while 1,728 people in the State had died of a drug overdose. Opioid prescriptions were enough to supply 433 opioid pills to every man, woman and child in West Virginia.
Unlike ’80s Miami Vice, America’s drug cartels don’t shoot you with machine guns. No, they use something much more sinister. They attack you from within using lawyers, lobbyists and Congress. They donate huge sums to Congress to rewrite the laws to make it more favorable to become legal drug dealers and more importantly to make it harder for law enforcement to do their job. and obtain convictions.
These American drug cartels hire ex-FDA regulators and DEA lawyers and offer them 3-4 times their old salaries. Say you were a lawyer working for the DEA and you made $90,000 a year suing American pharmaceutical companies for pushing highly addictive pills on the general public. Cardinal Health offers you $350,000 per year plus a company car of your choice. Your new job is to help rewrite the laws so they can sell even more pills. Sure, you’re abandoning your ethics and ruining your moral compass by helping thousands of drug addicts die every year – but hey, that’s a payday of $350,000 a year!
When the DEA cracked down on America’s drug cartels, the drug companies retaliated by having their lobbyists go to the Justice Department and Congress with complaints of overzealous DEA agents, making harder for them to sell their pills. So they installed Chuck Rosenberg as head of the DEA, because he was more sympathetic to the pharmaceutical industry. Mr. Rosenberg instructed his DEA agents to back off the pharmaceutical industry. I don’t invent anything.
It led hundreds of attorneys to launch the largest and most complex civil litigation in American history on behalf of thousands of counties, cities, and Native American tribes. They sued the manufacturers of pharmaceutical opioids and had access to their internal documents during the discovery. These confidential internal corporate emails revealed that pharmaceutical companies had manufactured, distributed and distributed 100 billion painkillers in the country over nine years, from 2006 to 2016. Executives from AmerisourceBergen, the third largest distributor of drugs in America, circulated a chain of emails containing a parody of the theme song from the 1960s CBS sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies.” The parody compared people who are addicted to opioids to poor, uneducated “Pillbillies”, the Hillbilles of Appalachia.
There’s only one way to hurt the rich and powerful and that’s to take their money away and put them in jail. How many Wall Street people went to jail during the 2008 financial crisis? It would be one, as Goldman Sachs ditched a low level trader to appease the gods (Congress). Until the pharmaceutical companies file for bankruptcy and their CEOs go to jail, it will be business as usual in America. The rich will get richer while the poor will die of drug overdoses.
Matthew Owen resides in Eureka and believes the First Amendment allows for free speech.