Ex-DEA agent blames pharma industry and Congress for opioid crisis - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
11-01-17 Category: Rehabilitation

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been striving hard to combat the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States. However, it seems the organization has not been getting enough support from all quarters. There were two major forces working to thwart the DEA’s efforts to curb the opioid addiction crisis, claimed Joe Rannazzisi, the former chief of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, the body that investigates and regulates the pharmaceutical industry. According to Rannazzisi, lobbyists from the Congress and the opioid industry facilitated large-scale distribution of billions of addictive pills to pain clinics and rogue pharmacies across the U.S., resulting in widespread devastation over the years.

“This is an industry that’s out of control, that distributed drugs to people, who had no legitimate need for those drugs,” said Rannazzisi. Expressing his rage over the unceasing loss of unwavering lives to opioid overdoses, the former DEA deputy assistant administrator said that several rich Fortune 500 pharmaceutical distribution companies like AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Cardinal Health, which served as shipping agents for pharma giants, including Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma, helped fuel the crisis by supplying prescription painkillers to drug stores all over the U.S.

Moreover, to further their unscrupulous objectives, these distributors never hesitated to turn a blind eye toward the diversion of opioid supplies for illegal use, Rannazzisi said. He stressed that the distributors were well aware of the consequences of their actions as they exerted a whopping 85-90 percent control over the opioids headed downstream.

Why are opioids claiming so many victims?

Experts say most Americans are unaware about the dangers of prescription opioids. Many are lulled into a distorted sense of assurance that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a rigorous testing and evaluation framework in place. However, this is not the case. In fact, the current system puts the complete onus of conducting clinical trials and safety testing of a newly developed drug on the manufacturing company.

Besides, easy availability of prescription opioids is one of the major reasons why large numbers of Americans abuse painkillers . Also, opioids are much more economical than a multidisciplinary pain management approach. There are five main groups of individuals who fall under the high-risk category of being vulnerable to opioid addiction:

  • People who have a history of drug or alcohol addiction in their families or have been victims themselves
  • Those who have abused other hard drugs or stimulants like heroin or cocaine on previous occasions
  • People who have experienced considerable trauma during their early years like physical violence, sexual abuse or death of a parent or victims of PTSD
  • Individuals struggling with a wide range of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression or schizophrenia
  • People residing in environments where engaging in opioid abuse is a common practice

Studies show more and more young Americans are getting hooked on opioids, especially those who are ignorant of the risks. Such vulnerable individuals lack knowledge about the consequences of misuse or overuse of prescription drugs. Moreover, physicians usually don’t inform patients about adequate methods to dispose of unused drugs or warn them of the dangers of slipping into extended use. Research shows that around 60 percent of the chronic opioid users took their first painkiller after being prescribed by a dentist or a family doctor. Some users even confessed that they stole it from a family member or close friend’s medicine cabinet. Sadly, most of the Americans addicted to opioids  admitted that they weren’t aware they could refuse a prescription or ask for something non-addictive.

Breaking free from clutches of opioid addiction

Across America, large-scale abuse of prescription opioids has reached dangerous proportions that has pushed the nation into the throes of a deadly epidemic. It is critical that people struggling with painful conditions are made aware about the likely risks associated with the extended use of prescription painkillers. Spreading awareness about prescription drug abuse is a major step toward preventing addiction-related health hazards in the future.

If you or a loved one is struggling to break free from addiction to prescription opioids, contact Sovereign Health that offers a variety of customized therapies at its rehab centers in California. Our licensed clinicians use several approaches to resolving each underlying problem. Programs at our residential treatment centers are tailored for individual needs in order to treat the person holistically. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives.

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