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The drug industry’s triumph over the Drug Enforcement Administration

Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein Washington Post October 15, 2017

In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.

By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight. Read full story.

Image caption: Cardinal Health Inc. paid a $34 million fine after the DEA brought a case in 2008 that claimed the company filled “blatantly suspicious” orders from online drugstores. (Image: Cardinal Health, Inc.)

Reducing enforcement in order to sell more prescription narcotics is a classic example of a harmful economic activity where one group uses resources to restructure the alternatives of a second group in such a way that the first group obtains income from the new behavior of the second group.  This restructuring reduces the value of the opportunities available to the second group.

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