It is not clear how the reference to
a heroin epidemic
is related to
“cracking down” on doctors who prescribe opioids
other than heroin being classified as an opioid.
Are there any arguments or studies that indicate politicians and the
DEA are making the opioid problem worse by creating these new
It would be nearly an impossible to make a rational argument that policies intended to lower prescription of opioids by physicians or punish physicians who prescribe opioids would have a negative impact on society, with the opioid prescription rate in 2016 being 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people, see Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U.S. Prescribing Rate Maps; in pertinent part
The overall national opioid prescribing rate declined from 2012 to 2016, and in 2016, the prescribing rate had fallen to the lowest it
had been in more than 10 years at 66.5 prescriptions per 100 persons
(over 214 million total opioid prescriptions).
In about a quarter of U.S. counties, enough opioid prescriptions were dispensed for every person to have one.
- While the overall opioid prescribing rate in 2016 was 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people, some counties had rates that were seven
times higher than that.
What could be argued is that the lack of policies aimed at reducing production of opiods by pharmaceuticals for profit (see These Pharmaceutical Companies Are Making a Killing Off the Opioid Crisis) is worse than focusing on the distribution of opioids by physicians for profit who receive finished opioid products from pharmaceutical companies for profit, Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress
JOE RANNAZZISI: This is an industry that's out of control. What they
wanna do, is do what they wanna do, and not worry about what the law
is. And if they don't follow the law in drug supply, people die.
That's just it. People die.
JOE RANNAZZISI: This is an industry that allowed millions and millions
of drugs to go into bad pharmacies and doctors' offices, that
distributed them out to people who had no legitimate need for those
BILL WHITAKER: Who are these distributors?
JOE RANNAZZISI: The three largest distributors are Cardinal Health,
McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. They control probably 85 or 90
percent of the drugs going downstream.
BILL WHITAKER: You know the implication of what you're saying, that
these big companies knew that they were pumping drugs into American
communities that were killing people.
JOE RANNAZZISI: That's not an implication, that's a fact. That's
exactly what they did.
Drug firms shipped 20.8M pain pills to WV town with 2,900 people
Between 2006 and 2016, drug wholesalers shipped 10.2 million
hydrocodone pills and 10.6 million oxycodone pills to Tug Valley
Pharmacy and Hurley Drug in Williamson, according to Drug Enforcement
Administration data obtained by the House Committee.
Springboro, Ohio-based Miami-Luken sold 6.4 million hydrocodone and
oxycodone pills to Tug Valley Pharmacy from 2008 to 2015, the company
disclosed to the panel. That’s more than half of all painkillers
shipped to the pharmacy those years. In a single year (2008 to 2009),
Miami-Luken’s shipments increased three-fold to the Mingo County town.
Miami-Luken also was a major supplier to the now-closed Save-Rite
Pharmacy in the Mingo County town of Kermit, population 400.
The drug wholesaler shipped 5.7 million hydrocodone and oxycodone
pills to Save-Rite and a branch pharmacy called Sav-Rite #2 between
2005 and 2011, according records Miami-Luken gave the committee. In
2008, the company provided 5,624 prescription pain pills for every
man, woman and child in Kermit.
though there is some policy movement in that direction as of late, see DEA Proposed Rule Would Limit Drug Manufacturer’s Annual Opioid Production.