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I don’t know anyone personally who has been affected by the opioid epidemic in the US. And I truly hope I never will. I don’t know if I would be able to maintain objectivity in my analysis of drug distributors and their involvement in this epidemic if I had experienced getting a call at night informing me that my loved one had died from a drug overdose.

Drug overdoses killed 70,237 Americans in 2017. Of these deaths, 47,600 (67.8%) involved opioids and 17,000 involved prescription opioids (24% of total overdose deaths). Legally prescribed opioids are killing 47 of us every day.

How did we get here? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.

Today pharma distributors are used as scapegoats for the opioid epidemic – not because they are guilty but because they have money and they are “drug distributors.” They are dragged through the same mud as the tobacco companies and British Petroleum (after it spilled millions of gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico).