The opioid scourge, brought to you by big pharma

I’ve read several great pieces on the opioid epidemic recently. It’s good to see this getting the coverage it deserves, but I can’t help but wonder how it would differ if the victims were minorities instead of poor whites. Somehow I suspect we’d be (wrongly) blaming it on their lack of work ethic, etc.

Regardless, this story in the Wall Street Journal was eye-opening, essentially asking what happens to the children of these addicts as they become too addled to parent or, worse, they die of overdoses. It’s created a nightmare for the foster care system.

This quote had me choking back tears:

When he speaks about his father’s drug use, he sometimes mixes it up with imagery from horror films he watched on television while his father got high. “Ben will say, ‘When he got really sick and passed out, a man stuck his hand through our door with a knife.’ And to him that’s a real memory,” Ms. Horton says.

And  this piece from the Charleston Gazette-Mail is just mind boggling. Big pharma pumped 780m doses into West Virginia as this crisis was in full flail. What the fuck? That’s more than one pain killer per day for EVERY resident of West Virginia (assuming WV has a population of about 1.8m).

But wait. There’s more. And it doesn’t get any better. The Washington Post took a look at a family that has been devastated by opioid abuse. It’s hard to imagine how these children won’t struggle with this experience for the rest of their lives …