Opioid Madness

My friend Rich, who lives in the cell next to mine, gets released in 2 weeks after serving 5 years for a gun charge. You would think nothing could damper his spirits so close to the doors of freedom. But after hanging up the phone the night before last, he realized how delicate the reality of life actually is hearing that his younger brother died from an overdose.

Yesterday, speaking with my 17 year old daughter, I was informed that one of her friends older brother also died from an overdose.

The opioid epidemic is still ravaging our nation.

There’s been more than 100,000 drug-overdose deaths in the 12 month period ending in April, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 100,000 dead in 12 months.

Thankfully the sources that created the opioid epidemic crisis are being held accountable by paying a settlement of a combined total of roughly $25 billion dollars. Johnson & Johnson, and the drug distributors Amerisource Bergin, Cardinal Health inc, and McKesson corp. all agreed to this settlement, but it wasn’t an admission of liability or wrong doing.

$25 billion.

More than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in 12 months.

Zero criminal prosecutions.

No surprise at that.

The Sackler family, who owns Purdue Pharma, are also paying a settlement of $6 billion after being accused of fueling the opioid epidemic.

Yet again so far…

Zero criminal prosecutions.

Flaco, another friend of mine here at Canaan, got charged with distributing a kilo or more of opioid’s. He’s 28 years old and got a 30 year criminal sentence. He accepted responsibility for his wrong doing. He wasn’t accused of being the source of this epidemic, and no one overdosed from his drugs, but you would think he’s being held responsible for those over 100,000 deaths in the last 12 months attributed to the Pharmaceutical companies.

Maybe he is.

He’s not alone since there are plenty of people here at USP Canaan with super long sentences for minimal amounts of opioids. If they had a few billion dollars, could they have brought their way out of the criminal prosecution by paying a settlement?

Seems like it.

But for now, these low level dealers take all the blame, pawns in a lost drug war where black and Hispanic individuals are the first to be sacrificed.