Opioids have an important role in relieving pain. Nonetheless, opioids can cause serious harm: addiction to them can ruin lives. Thus they are a “controlled substance” where safeguards are—or should be—in place so they may be used only for serious pain relief. When these safeguards are breached, harm can be done to many people. This harm, and the responsibility for it, is a current critical issue in the United States.
The Washington Post has recently published an excellent series of articles on the opioid crisis, several of which are cited below.
This is a good introduction to the issue covering the scale of the problem, lawsuits over the issue, and the Post’s efforts to make the DEA’s opioid distribution database available to the public.
76 billion opioid pills: Newly released federal data unmasks the epidemic Scott Higham, Sari Horwitz and Steven Rich Washington Post July 16, 2019
Drilling into the DEA’s pain pill database Washington Post July 21, 2019
“From 2006 to 2012 there were 38,269,630 prescription pain pills, enough for 203 pills per person per year, supplied to Mingo County, W.Va.”
Opioid death rates soared in communities where pain pills flowed Sari Horwitz, Steven Rich and Scott Higham Washington Post July 16, 2019
Drug company executives said they didn’t contribute to the opioid epidemic. Nearly 2,000 communities say otherwise. Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Scott Higham Washington Post July 20, 2019
Shows the Post’s opioid epidemic articles over the past three years.
Follow The Post’s investigation of the opioid epidemic Washington Post Staff July 19, 2019