High on Hypocrisy: How Big Government Treats Pot vs. the Opioid Crisis

We’re taking the concept of “every man for himself” in a fresh direction.

You see, the war against drugs has taken an odd turn. It’s now quite clear that we could be in big trouble if we don’t understand what’s happening.

Lives are on the line. Big money is at stake. And yet the truth is nowhere to be found.

We couldn’t help but chuckle as we read the news from Alaska this week. As we flipped through the rag of record from our old haunt, we felt a feeling we’d never felt before.

We felt bad for the poor saps selling dope.

Risky Business

We’ll never hear it on the national news, but the folks in the 49th state have been scratching their heads this week as Alaska’s largest maker of edible marijuana products was forced out of business.

The state’s Marijuana Control Board fined the company – dubbed “Frozen Budz” – $500,000, seized all of its products and revoked its pot-pushing license.

It’s the first major move of the year-old regulatory agency.

“I really hope that the rest of the industry and people who are considering joining the industry will view this as the board and the office meaning business,” said Mark Springer, a member of the control board.

It begs a question.

How many people did Frozen Budz kill? Certainly there must be a death count.

Nope. Nobody died.

Anybody hurt?

Not that we can tell.

Then what’s the crime? Well, the rookie regulators say the company failed to get its products tested. Worse, it was behind on its paperwork and its products were too strong.

Fair enough, we say. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

But then we turn our eyes from Alaska’s tiny weed market to America’s oh-so-profitable and oh-so-prescribed opioid market.

Big Pharma’s Big Crime

This news you likely heard.

The headline from The Washington Post’s exposé on Sunday says it all… “’We feel like our system was hijacked’: DEA agents say a huge opioid case ended in a whimper.”

The story is astonishing.

For two years, dozens of DEA agents tracked McKesson Corp. and its drug distribution ring.

They found that the company knowingly sent highly addictive opioids to several suspicious pharmacies. Some of them were flat-out corrupt pharmacies that were proven drug ring suppliers.

But money is money, and McKesson – the fifth-largest public company in America – had quarterly sales figures to meet.

Despite previous sanctions against it, the drug pusher kept its mouth shut and kept pushing the drugs.

Washington’s agents watched it all unfold.

“This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said one agent. “I said, ‘How do we not go after the No. 1 organization?’”

“We could have fined them out of existence, or indicted the company and put them out of business,” another said, reminding us of the news in Alaska this week. “I’d rather have one of the largest drug distributors be the poster child for detection and reporting of suspicious orders.”

The folks in charge of the case were ready to toss the book at McKesson. They called for a fine of $1 billion or more. They called for licenses to be revoked. And they called for folks to be led out of the corner office in handcuffs.

If they did it to a few small pot peddlers in Alaska, surely Big Government would be eager to hammer a business that’s playing a leading role in a national drug crisis.

Don’t forget that while marijuana cookies with a bit too much THC haven’t killed anybody… the nation’s prescription opioid epidemic has killed some 200,000 people in the last seven years.

But, alas, we turn back to the Post’s headline… this big bust died with a whimper.

Crime Pays

In the end, lawyers with the DEA and the Justice Department worked with McKesson’s lawyers. They agreed not to revoke any licenses… to temporarily halt distributions from four warehouses… and, this is the good part, to fine the company $150 million (just 0.07% of the company’s total annual sales of nearly $200 billion).

Clearly the war on drugs is more complicated than we’d like to believe.

But here’s the kicker… the takeaway that will leave you stunned.

Recent research from the National Safety Council shows this whole opioid crisis is for naught.

As we’ve written here before, heroin-like drugs are not the best painkillers – at least not for the patient. No, the answer to all that ails you is already in your medicine cabinet.

It turns out, the research shows, “the combination of 200 mg of ibuprofen and 500 mg of acetaminophen is one of the strongest pain reliever combinations available. It is clearly more efficacious than any of the opioids used alone or in combination with acetaminophen.”

Does Big Pharma want you to know?

Heck no… the simple, over-the-counter drugs are too cheap (see the Rooster’s Crow sidebar for some startling numbers). They’d rather get you hooked on the expensive stuff.

The takeaway? We’re on our own when it comes to our good health.

If your doctor prescribes opioids… he’s either ignorant or a crook. Probably both.

Stay away from him and the products he’s pushing.

The war on drugs is a mess… a very lucrative mess.

P.S. The opioid crisis is sure to take more lives… but at least it’s gaining some national attention. Now I’m doing everything I can to raise awareness about another health epidemic that’s been swept under the rug. As many as 221 million Americans are at heightened risk… and there’s a good chance you’re one of them. But there are ways to protect yourself. Find out more here.

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