How to Kill 300,000 Americans with Opioids, by Trey Goff

A step-by-step look at how the government launched the opioid epidemic. From Trey Goff at mises.org:

If someone wanted to kill 300,000 Americans and get away with it, they could not have accomplished it more effectively than our government has accomplished it with the opioid epidemic.

If someone— let’s say good old Uncle Sam—wanted to kill 300,000 Americans, they would go about it as detailed in this step-by-step guide. This also just so happens to be precisely how our government did go about it.

  1. Step 1 – In 1996, Uncle Sam would award a 17-year government patent monopoly to Purdue Pharma to be the exclusive supplier of OxyContin, an addictive and potentially deadly opioid painkiller. This would ensure that they had a massive multi-billion-dollar profit incentive to get as many people addicted as possible without any generic competition to keep this profit motive in check.
  2. Step 2 – To further fuel the use of OxyContin, Uncle Sam would cover the cost of it through Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This would ensure that there were billions of dollars available to fund the purchase of massive quantities of the addictive and potentially deadly substance.
  3. Step 3- For further assurance more people become dependent on opioids, Uncle Sam would enact growth-retardant public policies such as mountains of regulation and exorbitant taxation, exacerbating the link between depression, poverty, and opioid dependence.
  4. Step 4 – Uncle Sam would make pain the “fifth vital sign” and financially penalize any hospital that got poor reviews or ratings for not adequately treating pain, encouraging hospitals to hand out opioids like candy.
  5. Step 5 – Uncle Sam would ban medical marijuana, depriving those in pain of a viable non-opioid alternative.
  6. Step 6 – Uncle Sam would allow doctors to be sued for medical malpractice for not adequately treating pain, ensuring they prescribed even more opioids.
  7. Step 7 – Uncle Sam would then move many opioid painkillers to Schedule 2, which would prohibit refills. This would ensure that doctors prescribed a 30-day supply for patients that needed a 3-days’ supply, just to “keep the patient from having to come back to get a new prescription if they need it.”

To continue reading: How to Kill 300,000 Americans with Opioids

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