Manufacturing Addiction

Back when I was a drug addict, quality control didn’t exist because the manufacturers and sales force were drug dealers. You could die because what you smoked, snorted up your nose, or injected into your arm was laced with some deadly poison or, if you were lucky, just a lot of talcum powder.

Today, it’s much worse.

Millions of North Americans are hopelessly addicted to drugs that are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies.

In fact, 500,000 of them have died from overdoses in the past 20 years. This is not because the drugs are ‘cut’ with some noxious substance in order to boost a Colombian cartel’s profits, but precisely because the drug itself becomes poisonous in the amounts prescribed by doctors. In other words, when it comes to opioids like fentanyl, just taking them at all can kill you. Today, with this particular kind of FDA and Health Canada-approved prescription medication, sudden death is not a bug; it’s a feature.

I note this irony because it has been exposed in two spectacular ways this year: one, a book, and the other an HBO documentary. I urge you to visit both, not just for their searing subject matter, but because they are marvellously written and produced and signal a shift in the ways and quality of investigative reporting these days.

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