Over the course of six years, 76 billion opioid pills spread out across America leading to an epidemic of abuse and addiction. A database released last week deepens our understanding of who, how and where those pills went.
The database — obtained from Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) by The Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette-Mail after a year-long legal fight and court order — was requested more than three years ago.
What it reveals is a “roadmap,” of the opioid crisis as it unfolded, said Post investigative reporters Steven Rich and Scott Higham, who worked on the project.
It also gave the DEA a “bird’s eye view” of what was going on. “The database shows what DEA should’ve known and could’ve done and didn’t,” continued Higham.
For California, the data confirms what we already knew: the most pills per capita flooded into the state’s northernmost counties, which are also the counties with the state’s highest overdose rates.
Southern California — especially Los Angeles — has largely been spared from the worst of the opioid crisis.
Published: July 22, 2019