Absolute must-watch: 60 Minutes on how pharmaceutical distributors fueled the opioid crisis

October 16, 2017, 6:02 pm

In a blockbuster investigation carried out along with the Washington Post, 60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker looks into allegations that powerful pharmaceutical distributors helped advance the current opioid crisis by fulfilling patently suspicious orders for prescription opioids. The piece cites one example where a pharmacy in a West Virginia town with a population of several hundred ordered and received millions of opioid pills.

The main source for the piece is Joe Rannazzisi, former head of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Office of Diversion Control. Rannazzisi charges that as his office was planning to prosecute some of these distributors, a bill passed by congress — and signed by President Obama — neutered any power the DEA had to pursue these cases. He notes that many of the legislative and agency workers involved in crafting the bill have exited through the revolving door into lucrative positions as lobbyists and industry lawyers. Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, who introduced the bill, has recently been nominated by President Trump for the position of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Absolutely essential viewing. To read the accompanying Washington Post story, click here.

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