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Top DEA Official Just Exposed How Congress Works With Big Pharma to Hook America on Opioids

Monday, October 16, 2017 8:34
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By Jack Burns

On Sunday, 60 Minutes interviewed several former U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) employees who came forward to blow the whistle, accusing several Fortune 500 drug distributor companies for the epidemic opiate overdoses.

For many years, Joe Rannazzisi was the head of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control the division responsible for investigating the pharmaceutical industry consisting of pharmaceutical companies, distributors, pharmacies, as well as doctors and clinics which prescribe the highly-addictive opiates.

After years of investigations, his team finally believed they’d pinpointed the source of the abuse in the supply chain; the distributors. The DEA uncovered unscrupulous shipping of opiates to pharmacies in towns with small populations.

He had harsh criticisms for the opiate drug industry. He told correspondent Bill Whitaker:

This is an industry that’s out of control. What they wanna do, is do what they wanna do, and not worry about what the law is. And if they don’t follow the law in the drug supply, people die. That’s just it. People die. This is an industry that allowed millions and millions of drugs to go into bad pharmacies and doctors’ offices that distributed them out to people who had no legitimate need for those drugs.

Rannazzisi identified the big three he says are the major players who have been targeted by the DEA and who quickly learned how to push back, effectively winning their fight against the DEA’s oversight. He named Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen and claimed they control 90 percent of the opiate distribution in the United States.

The former DEA agent called it “a fact” that these companies are killing people by continuing to distribute dangerous opiates to crooked pharmacies which simply sell the goods to bad actors. Rannazzisi equated the distribution of the opiates to a band of drug dealers who were worse than street dealers:

These weren’t kids slinging crack on the Corner. These were professionals who were doing it. They were just drug dealers in lab coats.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, the distributors are supposed to report and stop shipments of suspicious orders (large shipments of opioids to people who have no legitimate need for those quantities of drugs).

Even after the distributors were fined millions of dollars by the DEA, little was done to curb the problem. The pharmaceutical distributors pushed back by recruiting lawyers from within the DEA to come and work with their companies. In essence, the drug companies recruited the very same lawyers who were writing policy for the DEA and who knew their loopholes and how to get the DEA off of their backs.

Linden Barber, who used to work for the DEA, jumped ship and went to work for the Quarles and Brady’s Health Law Group, helping clients navigate through compliance issues with the DEA.

Barber drafted the Marino Bill and lobbied Congress to introduce the bill with Tom Marino (R-PA). The bill became law, after passing without objection in both the House and the Senate and was signed into law in 2016 by President Barack H. Obama. It is known as the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, a law which Rannazzisi claimed took away the DEA’s ability to reign in the unethical and illegal distribution of opiates to pharmacies which should not be receiving millions of pills of opiates only having a few residents to serve.

According to the Washington Post:

The new law makes it virtually impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies.

Marino then turned his attention to Rannazzisi. He asked the DEA to open an investigation into the head of the office of diversion claiming he was attempting to intimidate Congress. Rannazzisi was ultimately stripped of his supervisory leadership and he eventually resigned.

Now, according to the former DEA agent, no one up the supply chain can be held accountable for increased diversion of dangerous and addictive narcotics. Rannazzisi said now no one in a drug company can be held liable for negligence in protecting the controlled substances.

Marino, the Congressman who made it all possible, has now been nominated to be President Donald Trump’s drug czar. In other words, the lawmaker who helped get the DEA off the backs of the drug distributors is now supposedly going to be responsible for safeguarding the nation’s supply of controlled substances and making sure the drugs are not abused. For those families who have lost a loved one to an opiate overdose, having Marino as the drug czar may not be very comforting. After all, he was lobbied by the very industry which manufactures and distributes the very drugs which killed their loved ones.

As TFTP has reported, more Americans died in opiate and related heroin overdoes in 2016 than in the entire Vietnam War. It is an epidemic. It is killing more Americans than guns or automobile accidents, and no one is doing anything about it. According to Rannazzisi, the DEA’s hands are now tied to plug the holes in the supply chain.

Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

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Total 8 comments
  • Man

    So it has nothing to do with big phama but the middle men

  • Morgana Le Fay

    Again, natural selection at work. If you’re stupid enough to get hooked on that crap, you probably shouldn’t be reproducing and are better off dead anyway. If you are willing to put your addiction before your family and those that love you, then you should marry it and reap your just reward. Decriminalize all of the drugs, and let the stupid lemmings fall where they will.

    • Morgana Le Fay

      Most addicts I’ve encountered don’t want a hand up, they want a hand out, and have no desire to change what they are doing. I speak as an addict myself, but I’m not stupid enough to get hooked on something so harsh that it would take a miracle to recover from at least. Take responsibility for your f*ck ups, and quit looking to the nanny state for answers….they’re more than willing to give them to you, but they aren’t going to be the answers you’d like.

      • Morgana Le Fay

        And the ones that REALLY piss me off are those with children, who would put their habit in higher priority than their responsibility as a parent. Sterilize them at the very least. That is the humane thing to do.

  • Pink Slime

    These people taking drugs like this are LOSERS. What’s next for US – Soylent Green? Making losers into weiners? :lol:

  • Deputy Dawg

    Always question the official narrative when the narrative benefits the author of it. The sad truth is the DEA is a rouge drug dealing agency who first helped restrict necessary chemicals required to manufacture Oxycodone and Hydrocodone the two most prescribed generic opiate pain relief substitutes thereby creating a shortage of both. They then conspired with the same CDC who orchestrated the phony N1N1 pandemic to promote restriction on prescribing Opiates to suffering patients. Healthcare organizations bought into the accusation that chronic pain sufferers and doctors peddling dope on street corners and adopted restrictive distribution policy. Physicians were terrified of being arrested for over prescribing so draconian measures rapidly emerged.

    Pain contracts that put time limits on opiate therapy and impose degrading mandates that treat patients like they’re required to jump through hoops by some kind of court ordered criminal drug diversion program frequently dissuade many from seeking relief while others are outright denied access based on nothing more than brief informal interaction with a so called pain specialist and their physical appearance. Too many agonizing patients, mostly baby boomers out of sheer desperation took to the street to find relief. This generation although certainly long reformed lived through the drug ridden sixties and are not at all foreign to the underground drug market.

    You may wonder why would the DEA facilitate something so cruel? They were expanding and strengthening a street market so they could peddle their extremely profitable opiates to desperate pain sufferers who have been denied access or exceeded prearranged time limits on pain therapy. Their rhetoric of course continued blaming doctors, pharmacies and pain sufferers until finally the cat was let out of the bag here in Sacramento. After an influx in opiate overdoses, tragedies that at first appeared to perfectly correlate with the DEA’s exaggerated epidemic something remarkably revealing emerged. These opiates that were saturating our streets where perhaps pharmaceutical but they were not made in America. They were laced with Fentanyl, something that is common in Mexico not the US. The Fentanyl additive is what caused so many overdoses.

    If you think the DEA would never do such a thing. Follow the link provided to NewsBud, a very reliable source of information.

    Deputy Dawg

    • Morgana Le Fay

      Honey….it’s called grow your own poppies. They’ll grow almost anywhere, and most the time the dumb ass cops are too stupid to know what they lookin’ at anyway.

  • Man

    Thank god that Trump’s nominee for drug czar is accused of helping relax enforcement on pharmaceutical firms blamed for fueling the opioid crisis.

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