80% of the world’s opioids are prescribed and consumed by Americans (who make up just 6% of the world’s population). Think we use too much?
How much is too much?
For an industry that rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars selling opioid pain relievers in California alone, is it too much to ask them to contribute to a program that will help alleviate the diversion of their product? Apparently so. The tiny percentage, ($5 million) that Senator Mark DeSaulnier and his colleagues hoped to get from Big Pharm to fund enforcement of CURES, California’s prescription drug monitoring program, had to be eliminated in order to see the bill move forward in the legislature. According to DeSaulnier, my guest on the August 13th Afflicted by Addiction, the drug dealers at the core of our country’s prescription drug abuse epidemic (my words, not his) are so powerful that after the fourth of fifth time trying to run this bill since he’s been in the legislature, he realized that whenever he attached a fee to the pharm industry, they were strong enough to kill it in the first policy committee. He had to remove it. DeSaulnier calls this influence “sanitized corruption.”
The Senator also said this: “As a politician, I know part of the reason: Entrenched powers who contribute significant campaign contributions and intimidate us politicians into not doing what’s best for everybody…. There’s clearly a problem now with the marketplace and basically sanitized corruption.”
“This is an area where it’s particularly acute.”