Health & Wellness / Politics

Busted: Origins of America’s Opioid Epidemic Revealed

opioid-pills-abuse“People are dying. They’re dying,” DEA whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi repeatedly stated in a recent interview with 60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker.

The former high-ranking agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently revealed on the CBS program that America’s opioid epidemic has been fueled not only by the pharmaceutical industry, but by Congress.

Whistleblower and ex-DEA senior executive agent Joe Rannazzisi reported that during his time in the agency, he worked hard to uphold the law, but was pushed out by members of Congress and an industry campaign that he says has resulted in a weakening of the nation’s drug laws at a time of “unprecedented crisis”.

“America’s largest drug distributors and some of the nation’s most senior politicians colluded to fuel the country’s opioid epidemic, leading directly to thousands of unnecessary deaths”, Rannazzisi explained, adding, “This is an industry that’s out of control. If they don’t follow the law in drug supply, and diversion occurs, people die. That’s just it, people die.”

Rannazzisi is now advising lawyers suing the opioid industry.

To make matters more difficult, a law signed by former president Barack Obama last year has made it even more challenging for the DEA to crack down on the illegal distribution and sale of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

The law in question, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, was championed by Republican congressman Tom Marino and—according to Rannazzisi’s interview—largely written by D. Linden Barber, a former DEA lawyer who went on to work for the drug companies.

The law was supposed to aid enforcement by improving ties with industry. However, it made a crucial change to the standard required for the DEA to freeze drug shipments that it suspected were finding their way to addicts in opioid-ravaged communities. For four decades, the DEA could freeze shipments that posed an “imminent danger,” but the law changed that to “a substantial likelihood of an immediate threat.”

Rannazzisi says the law places an impossible burden of proof on the DEA, Rannazzisi concluded, “There’s no way that we could meet that burden.

According to the US. Senate Lobbying Act database, more than $106 million was given to support the bill’s passage, led by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America, who spent $40.8 million, followed by CVS Health, who gave $32.8 million. The data base shows that big pharma spent more than $740 million collectively, in state and federal lobbying efforts over the last decade.

In a recent study published in the Marquette Law Review, DEA Chief Administrative Judges John J. Mulrooney II and Katherine E. Legel conclude, “If it had been the intent of Congress to completely eliminate the DEA’s ability to ever impose an immediate suspension on distributors or manufacturers, it would be difficult to conceive of a more effective vehicle for achieving that goal.”

DEA officials have spoken out after the interview’s airing, claiming that the agency is doing everything it can to fight the opioid epidemic. “During the past seven years, we have removed approximately 900 registrations annually, preventing reckless doctors and rogue businesses from making an already troubling problem worse,” a DEA spokesperson said in a recent statement. CBS also reported that the Justice Department did not dispute any of the 60 Minutes interview.

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concerned mom
4 years ago

I dont likw how this war on opoids is way out there. To begin with all these tales of abuse are not the people that are prescribed these medications. It’s the people that get it off the street or go so far as to steal it from family or even stranger’s because the doctors will not give them prescriptions for it. Do research form legitimate sources will prove that. 99.9% of overdoses are not from the people that are?under the care of good doctors. I know that the government is so adamant to control people that they or trying to so that they know best for everyone. Just like in everything else in their lives they are exempted from all the laws they make for everyone else.

claire o'sullivan
3 years ago
Reply to  concerned mom

Agreed. I have seen chronic pain patients flourish, work, enjoy life, become active again, dropped depression. Granted, opioids need to be controlled but to withhold pain medication when so many do so well is ‘doing harm’ to the patient by allowing their lives to be eaten away by agony. The majority of the addicts sell their opioids on the street for heroin.

Old Griz
5 years ago

Give it a rest drug warriors! Before the Fed’s got involved in what people ingested (drugs/alcohol) brought on by a bunch of self-righteous old biddies known as the “Women’s Temperance League” back in the late 1800’s, opium, cocaine and alcohol were readily available at the corner pharmacist and the country enjoyed one of the greatest growths in the history of the world! Notice the “WTL” didn’t target opiates or cocaine because they regularly used them for all types of “feminine” ailments (i.e., the “vapors).
Great poets/authors like Edgar Allen Poe, wrote their greatest works, while under the influence of “Laudanum”, a liquid form of opium.
We lost the war on alcohol ( The Great Prohibition ). We SHOULD have learned a lesson then! The only thing the Prohibition helped, was the greatest crime spree in the history of the U.S. That is, until Nixon’s “War on Drugs” and meddling by the CIA and the DEA created the greatest crime lords (Paplo Escabar) in history!

Legalize it and tax it!

We have as many kids that die of alcohol poisoning, as we do from opiate/crystal meth/cocaine poisoning! Get things in perspective and realize that you can’t legislate morality or sensible behavior!

Bob L.
5 years ago

I’ve been saying that President Trump has been getting some bad advice since taking office and it has to be from some holdovers as well as establishment GOP/NWO people he has enlisted for positions in his administration.

5 years ago
Reply to  Bob L.

I think your right. President Trump hasnt quite got a grip on this drug thing. He doesnt realize 90% of all herion comes by way of Afghanistan. Mexico only produces enough herion to supply maybe New York. It may come through mexico, but mexico doesnt produce it. Do you know we actually protect the poppy fields in Afghanistan.

Jimmy S
5 years ago
5 years ago

It is not just children who succumb to opioid addiction – far from it. Parental control will not help adults who begin taking opioids for ligitimate pain because of a prescription from a trusted doctor. I have known 4 adults who became opioid addicts because they were prescribed prescription pain killers. 3 of them were fine, upstanding, intelligent adults with good skills and jobs (one was a nurse). The 4th person’s morals were slightly questionable before the addiction. However, she obtained her first prescription for legitimate pain. Opioids ruined these 4 people’s and their family’s lives. The grip that this addiction had on them changed their ability to be responsible, honest and reliable. All of them resorted to lying and theft to obtain increasing dosages. It seemed to ruin a part of their brain and control them. I am a senior and I do not normally have any dealings with people who engage in illegal drugs, but I have seen first hand how they ruin lives, and it is not just the lives of people you would expect to abuse drugs. I wouldn’t touch this type of drug with a ten foot pole – unless my death was imminent and addiction didn’t matter! My son is an EMT and he routinely has to give opioid addicts the antidote to save their lives. Sometimes it is too late. The tragedy of these drugs is not just the rampant deaths, it is the ruined lives of the addicts, their families and the lost potential of good employees and citizens.

Ivan Berry
5 years ago
Reply to  Snowy

Well said, Snowy.

5 years ago

Typical government — greatest if intentions with the worst possible execution!

Tom Wilde
5 years ago

So, we have a government that materially aids in the spread of addicting street drugs.

The same government that has armed drug cartels and terrorist organizations and nations.

The same government that has opened up the borders and brought in millions of illegal foreign invaders.

The same government that has grossly ill-educated the young.

The same government that has ruthlessly attacked those who believe in the Bible and instead promoted Islam.

The same government that has aided in the formation of Muslims Only enclaves.

The same government that champions perversion and ruins Christian bakers.

The same government that has worked hand-in-hand with the “news media” to spread anti-Americanism.

Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.

5 years ago
Reply to  Tom Wilde

Don’t forget the government that allows legalization of marijuana for “recreational” use.

5 years ago
Reply to  Tom Wilde

And there isn’t a darn thing that “we the people” can do about this! Politicians are voted in for life, they no longer listen to “we the people,” they make money hand over fist, start off as an idealistic person, never let go of their position as REP OR SENATOR, and they are bought off by the big pharma and other powerful groups.

5 years ago
Reply to  Tom Wilde

If we could pry the news media out of their claws, they would lose all influence and power!

David Craft
4 years ago
Reply to  Tom Wilde

Just read AGENDA 21— that says it all!!!

5 years ago

Of coarse I’ve got a somewhat different view of drug abuse then the so called experts in the field. And again, I dont want to alienate my friends on this site. But here goes: being from the 60s and from the other side of the tracks, l had first hand experience with drugs. I saw many of my friends fall prey to drugs. When I was 17 i knew i had to get as far away from drugs as I could. I joined the Marine Corps. Smartest thing i ever did.
You see I believe its parenting that fails these children. Parenting. Being a drug addict is disgusting and embarrassing, humiliating and loathsome. Parents think they’re being the best parents in the world. They provide their kids with what ever they want, given every new fad and popular opportunity that comes along. The kids, in the beginning, are just the best, honor student, sports player, cute little cheer leader, all the above. You’ll hear over and over again the parents saying “oh we had no idea” Well of coarse they didnt, because the parents were too busy leading their own lives, just throwing cell phones, cars, $$$ at their kids, just to get rid of them. Send them away with their friends, make yourself believe your just the greatest parent in the world. While all along you should be up your kids a$$ with a microscrope. You should make yourself aware of your kids every move. Any person that cant tell when their kids are on herion are absolute idiots. Your kid spend all their time in their bedroom, hiding like a hermit, first thing you do is grab em by the neck and take em and have them drug tested. Dont trust them one iota!!
Wow, I didnt mean to get so carried away, but these experts arn’t really experts, they just went to school way too long and have some letters before or after their names. Most don’t know about living life.
Just a thought.

5 years ago
Reply to  SARGE

Very well said Sarge. The notion of parental responsibility for the care and we’ll being of one’s own children, while they are still living under the parent’s roof, seems to be conveniently forgotten or absent from most conversations on the subject. Today everything is always “somebody else’s fault or responsibility” for virtually everything. Of course these days, the view that the parent is supposed to actually act like a parent is often deemed “so old fashioned”.

As for the article, it is yet another example of trying to build a public consensus for the near term creation of some new governmental department or agency that will be tasked with specifically “dealing with” this issue. That will of course mean at least a few billion dollars in start-up funding (otherwise known as taxpayer dollars), some high-level “experts” hired to run it and the usual multiple layers of federal bureaucracy to “handle the paperwork” to keep it all running smoothly and formulate the multi-decade plans to address the problem.

In Washington, everything is viewed as a problem only the federal government can or should solve. Ideas of limiting the quantity of pills allowable per perscription over a certain time frame, in order to reduce the risk of creating drug dependency in the first place, are deemed too simplistic. Better to go with some convoluted solution, with vague guidelines, and see how it goes. That is how they keep justifying the continual growth of the federal government year after year. There is always something else that is screaming for “a solution from the all knowing, all caring federal government”. Except no matter how much money we keep throwing at all these problems supposedly being handled by “experts”, none of the problems ever seem to get fixed. Then again, if they actually fixed the problems, there would be no more need for a lot of these very expensive government agencies.

5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

100% correct!

5 years ago
Reply to  SARGE

You’re right. Being there. People tend to emulate those who surround them.

5 years ago
Reply to  SARGE

Two things need to be stated: Hope you don’t mind if I add them. (1st). US Government, through media and teachers have told your children, all children they have rights, no matter what age. Let a child go to school with mark on arm, or neck as in article, and teacher will be calling the police, and you will meet the neighborhood social worker, who will not believe a word you say, but will use all words of your child, having you guilty to start with, and simply looking for reason to satisfy them and their bias. And peers of the children all know this too.
(2nd ) is a definition, which explains my reason for adding: I learned long time ago, that EXPERT when stated: EX Spurt. or Has been drip under pressure. So Social Workers and too many teachers are EX Spurts (Experts). Majority of them are older, with bias, college trained, and never had children.

5 years ago
Reply to  Frank2525

When a child has needles marks runnung up and down their arms, when a child has petty thief arrests, when a child has stolen from every family member, when a child has lost any shred of decency toward their surrounding life, well their social worker has done one of two things, either lovked them up, or moved on to someone more saveable. The bruising wont mean nothing anymore. The kidswill loose their cover. Sure you can blow smoke up thebsocial workers -ss for a long time, but eventually even they get wise.

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