DEA tracked every opioid pill sold in the US. The data is out—and it’s horrific

DEA tracked every opioid pill sold in the US. The data is out—and it’s horrific

Enlarge / Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters hold signs while protesting during the McKesson Corp. annual meeting at the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce in Irving, Texas, US, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Between 2006 and 2012, opioid drug makers and distributors flooded the country with 76 billion pills of oxycodone and hydrocodone—highly addictive opioid pain medications that sparked the epidemic of abuse and overdoses that killed nearly 100,000 people in that time period.

As the epidemic surged over the seven-year period, so did the supply. The companies increased distribution from 8.4 billion in 2006 to 12.6 billion in 2012, a jump of roughly 50%. In all, the deluge of pills was enough to supply every adult and child in the country with around 36 opioid pills per year. Just a 10-day supply can hook 1 in 5 people into being long-term users,

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Lap-dances, kick-backs, and debt: Infamous opioid maker files for bankruptcy

Lap-dances, kick-backs, and debt: Infamous opioid maker files for bankruptcy

Enlarge / Insys Therapeutics founder John N. Kapoor leaves federal court in Boston on March 13, 2019. (credit: Getty | Boston Globe)

Opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections Monday, just days after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges and agreeing to pay $225 million to settle civil and criminal cases alleging it used kickbacks, bribes, and even a lap dance to sell its extremely potent painkiller.

Insys may be the first major opioid maker to go down in a deluge of lawsuits over the opioid epidemic—it faces more than 1,000 lawsuits from municipal governments. But the bankruptcy throws into question just how much the company will actually pay the federal government from the $225 million deal it made on June 5. Bankruptcy documents show that, as of March 31, Insys had just $175.1 million in assets and $262.5 million already in debt.

In an

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Purdue infiltrated WHO, manipulated opioid policies to boost sales, report finds

Purdue infiltrated WHO, manipulated opioid policies to boost sales, report finds

Enlarge / Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and its owners, the Sackler family, are facing hundreds of lawsuits across the country for the company’s alleged role in the opioid epidemic. (credit: Getty | Drew Angerer)

Infamous OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma used front organizations and sponsored research to deceive the World Health Organization and corrupt global public health policies with the goal of boosting international opioid sales and profits, according to a Congressional report(PDF) released Thursday, May 22.

The investigation identified two WHO guidance documents that appear to parrot some of Purdue’s misleading and outright false marketing claims about the safety and efficacy of their highly addictive opioids.

The findings, released by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), land as the country is still grappling with an epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid overdoses kill an

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