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COVID Vaccine Manufacturer Ordered to Pay $263 Million for Role in Largest Overdose Epidemic in History

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project

Despite the state spending thousands of dollars a second – ticketing, kidnapping, caging, and killing evil drug users, the rate of lethal drug overdoses in the last 15 years has skyrocketed at near-exponential rates. According to the most recent data on overdose deaths, despite the state’s immoral war on drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 92,000 Americans died of an overdose in the 12-month span ending in November — the highest number ever recorded. To understand how we got to this point, we have to look at how Americans became so addicted to opioids. Spoiler alert, it was not by chance.

Across the board, drug use and deaths associated with drug use have increased at alarming rates. No amount of AR-15s, SWAT police, MRAPs, or any other military gear has had a hand in lowering these statistics. In fact, the increase in overdose deaths nearly perfectly coincides with the increase in militarization of police in the last decade and a half.

Instead of deterring drug use, it’s been expanding, getting worse, and drugs have become more available and more dangerous. How did this happen?

There are legitimate needs for opioids just like there are legitimate needs for cannabis. But when people are taught their entire lives to blindly trust the medical industry, who clearly choose to deceive them, we end up with problems like we have today.

The government making drugs illegal does absolutely nothing when a person puts blind trust in a medical establishment who then deliberately addicts them to opioids to make billions. Even when it’s illegal, after these people have been duped into their addictions, they still seek it out. This is why we see soccer moms overdosing on dangerous black market fentanyl in front of Hobby Lobby.

They put blind trust in the government and medical industry to protect them and instead were turned out for a buck.

Drug manufacturers deliberately deceived patients and doctors about the risks of opioids, pushed prescribers to keep patients on the drugs longer, and aggressively targeted vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and veterans.

One such company was Johnson & Johnson, which was ordered this week to pay $263 million to resolve claims it fueled an opioid epidemic in New York state and two of its largest counties.

“The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc” across the nation, New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Johnson & Johnson helped fuel this fire.”

Indeed, they did. According to the original $465 million lawsuits out of Oklahoma, J&J deliberately deceived doctors and patients about their opioid drugs which played a major role in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Yes, hundreds of thousands. According to the CDC, nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2019.

Given J&J’s history is fueling the opioid crisis, one would be naturally skeptical of blindly receiving a vaccine developed by the same company in record time. What’s more, while the opioid crisis is bad enough J&J’s past is far more insidious than just opioids.

Johnson & Johnson also knew for decades their baby powder was tainted with carcinogenic asbestos and they kept that information from regulators and the public. A government-funded study from the mid-1990s found that Johnson’s baby powder caused cancer in rats and other studies have found an increased risk of cancer in women who used their talc-based products. The potential risks have been known to the company for decades.freestar

What’s more, in 2018, the pharma giant was ordered to pay $4.7 billion to thousands of victims who reportedly developed cancer from using Johnson & Johnson’s products. In that case, 22 women alleged the company’s talc-based products, including its baby powder, contained the known carcinogen, asbestos, which caused them to develop cancer. According to reports, there are over 9,000 similar talc lawsuits against the company.

Currently faced with several major lawsuits for fueling the opioid crisis in the United States, Johnson & Johnson also has a history of bribing doctors and government officials. Even more disturbing still, a Reuters investigation found that J&J knowingly sold a baby powder product that they knew had asbestos in it, which causes mesothelioma.

When this information is brought up, those who report on it are fact-checked into oblivion. In April, we discovered that these companies are actually tied to the fact-checkers, providing a possible reason for such massive censorship.

According to their own source, Factcheck.org is funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to the foundation’s 2019 financial statement, the project holds over $1.8 billion of stock in the COVID-19 manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson.

To be clear, no one here is claiming that these vaccines will hurt massive amounts of people or that they will not be beneficial in stopping the virus. No one here at TFTP is telling anyone what to do in regard to vaccinations. We are, however, advocating for safety at all levels of this process. Nevertheless, those who promote vaccine safety are increasingly being treated as outcasts and lawmakers and media alike are calling for them to be silenced.

Skepticism is not dangerous, as the media would have you believe. It is necessary for producing a safe product yet Johnson & Johnson has a highly questionable history of operating procedures that are the antithesis of safety. It’s not just J&J either.

In 2000 the Washington Post published a major exposé accusing Pfizer of testing a dangerous new antibiotic called Trovan on children in Nigeria without receiving proper consent from their parents. The experiment occurred during a 1996 meningitis epidemic in the country. In 2001 Pfizer was sued in U.S. federal court by thirty Nigerian families, who accused the company of using their children as human guinea pigs.

Now, the Washington Post is defending the same company in regards to the vaccination.

The pharmaceutical giant also paid out $2.3 billion in 2009 to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products.

“Pfizer violated the law over an extensive-time period. Furthermore, at the very same time, Pfizer was in our office negotiating and resolving the allegations of criminal conduct by its then newly acquired subsidiary, Warner-Lambert, Pfizer was itself in its other operations violating those very same laws,” Mike Loucks, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts said at the time.

But that was only a single case, this company has a track record dating back decades that includes everything from bribing government officials to illegally testing products on children to making false claims about drugs and illegally marketing them — leading to multiple deaths. Despite making the largest payout in history, Pfizer has continued to be called to the carpet since 2009 multiple times for misleading the public about their drugs — up to and including vaccines.

If we applied the “three-strike” rule to these companies as we do to individuals, they would be in prison for life. Instead, they are receiving tens of billions in taxpayer dollars to help push their fast-tracked vaccines on Americans.

Are we supposed to forget the track record of these companies who deliberately misled regulators about the hazards of their products, knowingly contributing to the deaths of more than 125 people? Or who experimented on children? Or who has paid out hundreds of millions in settlements for the deaths of scores of patients?

The fact is that these companies have track records that include bribing government officials to illegally testing products on children to making false claims about drugs and illegally marketing them.

The ability of Americans to forget the pasts of these companies and blindly line up for a jab that has set off a historical number of adverse reaction reports to the CDC’s VAERS database is uncanny. Yet those who question it are silenced. This is the state of “science” in the modern world.

About the Author

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds.




Dr. Mercola’s Attackers Sued for Role in ‘Crime of the Century’, Deceptive Opioid Marketing

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Between September 2019 and September 2020 alone, opioid overdoses killed 87,000 Americans — a new record-high
  • Various court cases have demonstrated how Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, systematically misled doctors about the drug’s addictiveness to drive up sales, resulting in an avalanche of opioid addiction and subsequent deaths
  • The Massachusetts attorney general is now suing Purdue’s PR firm, Publicis Health, for its role in creating Purdue’s deceptive marketing
  • Publicis is accused of placing illegal advertisements for OxyContin in the electronic medical records of patients and creating training materials for Purdue sales reps on how to combat doctor’s objections to the drugs
  • Publicis also developed strategies to counter opioid guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and created “patient stories” to “humanize” the OxyContin brand and counter negative press about addiction risks

In previous articles, I’ve discussed the central role false advertising played in the creation of the opioid crisis.1

To recap, a single paragraph in a 1980 letter to the editor2,3 (not a study) in The New England Journal of Medicine — which stated that narcotic addiction in patients with no history of addiction was very rare — became the basis of a drug marketing campaign that has since led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people or four times the number of Americans killed in Vietnam.

Between September 2019 and September 2020 alone, opioid overdoses killed a staggering 87,000 Americans — a new record-high.4

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, used this letter to the editor as the basis for its claim that opioid addiction affects fewer than 1% of patients treated with the drugs. In reality, opioids have a very high rate of addiction, have not been proven effective for long-term use5 and, in fact, fail to control moderate to severe pain any better than over-the-counter pain relievers.6

Various court cases have demonstrated how Purdue systematically misled doctors about OxyContin’s addictiveness to drive up sales, resulting in an avalanche of opioid addiction and subsequent deaths.7

Unethical to the core, Purdue also cashed in on the addiction trend it manufactured by secretly founding Rhodes Pharma to manufacture generic opioids,8 and getting into the business of creating overdose treatments.9,10

Facing an estimated 2,600 lawsuits11,12 relating to its role in the opioid epidemic, Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019,13 as a way to avoid litigation losses. Just over a year later they pleaded guilty to three federal criminal charges, including violating a federal anti-kickback law, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.14,15

The company agreed to pay $8.3 billion in fines, forfeiture of past profits, and civil liability payments to settle the charges,16 but short on cash — having transferred more than $10 billion of the company’s funds into family trusts and offshore accounts17 — the company was dissolved and its remaining assets used to erect a “public benefit company” owned and controlled by the U.S. government.18 Future earnings will supposedly be used to combat the opioid crisis.

Purdue’s PR Company Sued for Deceptive Marketing

While Purdue’s owners, the Sackler family, got off scot-free, states struggling with the exorbitant cost of opioid addiction aren’t ready to bury the hatchet just yet. Instead, some are going after the PR firm Purdue hired to run their deceptive marketing campaigns.

As it turns out, that PR firm is none other than Publicis, a partner of the World Economic Forum, which is leading the call for a Great Reset. As detailed in “The Web of Players Trying to Silence Truth,” Publicis appears to be coordinating the global effort to suppress information that runs counter to the technocratic narrative about COVID-19, its origin, prevention, and treatment — suppression and censorship that has been repeatedly aimed at this website specifically.

At the beginning of May 2021, the Massachusetts attorney general filed a lawsuit19 against Publicis Health, accusing the Publicis subsidiary of helping Purdue create the deceptive marketing materials used to mislead doctors into prescribing OxyContin.20,21,22,23 As reported by Yahoo! News:24

“The lawsuit alleges that Publicis ‘engaged in myriad unfair and deceptive strategies that influenced OxyContin prescribing across the nation,’ a statement by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said. Those strategies were carried out through dozens of contracts between 2010 and 2019, worth more than $50 million …

Tactics included combatting doctors’ ‘hesitancy’ to prescribe the medication, and persuading them to prescribe OxyContin over lower-dose, short-acting opioids, thus increasing the risk of addiction. Massachusetts is asking that Publicis Health pay ‘compensatory damages’ of an unspecified amount for having ‘created a public nuisance.’”

Publicis Knowingly Promoted Over-Prescription

Publicis Health argues that its work for Purdue was entirely lawful and limited to “implementing Purdue’s advertising plan and buying media space.” Publicis also claims the specific activities listed in the lawsuit fall outside the statute of limitations.

Some of those activities included placing illegal advertisements for OxyContin in the electronic medical records of patients, creating training materials for Purdue sales reps on how to combat doctor’s objections to the drugs, developing strategies to counter opioid guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and creating “patient stories” to “humanize” the OxyContin brand and counter negative press about addiction risks.25,26

According to the lawsuit, one patient vignette featured a 40-year-old man who had his dose increased from 10 milligrams a day to 20 mg in just three weeks. It also claims Publicis was responsible for creating and sending thousands of deceptive emails to doctors, encouraging them to not only increase patients’ dosages but also to prescribe the drug to patients who were already on less dangerous pain meds.27

Publicis also instructed Purdue to target doctors who were already writing out dangerously high numbers of prescriptions, even in the midst of a raging opioid epidemic,28 all while agency executives gleefully discussed the record fees they’d collect from the Purdue account. A March 2016 email exchange reveals the Publicis subsidiary was expecting to make up to $12.28 million from Purdue that year alone.

Publicis Also Represented Addiction Center

According to the complaint:29

“Publicis helped create a public nuisance of opioid use disorder, overdose, and death. By design, Publicis’s schemes worked to counter public health measures intended to reduce unnecessary opioid use, because more opioid use generated more profits for Publicis’s opioid clients.”

Like Purdue, Publicis also cashed in on the opioid addiction it helped create by pitching its services to organizations working to end addiction. As reported by Forbes,30 the agency “won the account to work on drugfree.org after touting how it’s been ‘immersed in the evolving national opioid medication dialogue going on between pharma companies, the government and FDA, and the public via inside access as a trusted and informed consulting partner.’”

In an interview cited by Courthouse News, Amanda Pustilnik, a senior fellow on law and applied neuroscience at Harvard Law School who also teaches at the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital, noted that:31

“The story of the opioid epidemic is often misrepresented as a story of irresponsible patients and over-prescribing doctors. This prosecution gets at the heart of the matter.

Patients and doctors were not, on average, irresponsible. They acted under the influence of a concerted plan of misinformation and over-promotion orchestrated up and down the supply chain for these medications.”

Publicis Admits Role in Censorship Push

As mentioned earlier, Publicis appears to be playing an important role in the global censorship of information relating to COVID-19, and Publicis Health admitted its involvement in this agenda as recently as April 27, 2021. In a tweet,32 the agency announced its partnership with NewsGuard, “to fight the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation about COVID-19 and its vaccines.”

In short, Publicis Health is dedicated to suppressing any information that hurts its Big Pharma clients, which include Lilly, Abbot, Roche, Amgen, Genentech, Celgene, Gilead, Biogen, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, and Bayer, just to name a few.

Publicis is more than a partner with NewsGuard, however. NewsGuard actually received a large chunk of its startup capital from Publicis, as detailed in “New Thought Police NewsGuard Is Owned by Big Pharma.” NewsGuard, a self-proclaimed arbiter of truth, rates websites on criteria of “credibility” and “transparency,” ostensibly to guide viewers to the most reliable sources of news and information.

In reality, however, NewsGuard ends up acting as a gatekeeper with a mission to barricade unpopular truth and differences of opinion behind closed gates. Its clearly biased ranking system easily dissuades people from perusing information from low-rated sites, mine included.

Extensive Propaganda Network Works Against the Public

As detailed in “The Web of Players Trying to Silence Truth” (hyperlinked above), Publicis is part of an enormous network that includes international drug companies, fact-checkers and credibility raters like NewsGuard, Google and other search engines, Microsoft, antivirus software companies like Trend Micro, public libraries, schools, the banking industry, the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense, the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum.

Mind you, this is not a comprehensive review of links. It’s merely a sampling of entities to give you an idea of the breadth of connections, which when taken together explain how certain views — such as information about COVID-19 and vaccines — can be so effectively erased.

To understand the power that PR companies such as Publicis wield, you also need to realize that PR has, by and large, replaced the free press. In decades past, pro-industry advertising stood in stark contrast to the free press, which would frequently expose problems with products and industries, thereby serving as a counterbalance to industry propaganda.

When a free press with honest reporting based on verifiable facts actually does its job, ineffective or toxic products are driven off the market. All of this changed in the late 20th century when media outlets started relying on advertisers for the bulk of their revenues.

As intended, journalists quickly came under the control of advertisers, who suddenly had the power to kill stories they didn’t like. Today, news organizations simply won’t run reports that might harm the bottom line of their advertisers, and, not surprisingly, the drug industry is among the top-paying advertisers.

By further partnering with the “big guns” of media — such as the Paley Center for Media, which is composed of every major media in the world33 — Publicis and its industry clients have been able to influence and control the press to virtually eliminate your ability to get the truth on many important issues, including COVID-19.

Seeing how Publicis represents most of the major pharmaceutical companies in the world and funded the creation of NewsGuard, it’s not far-fetched to assume Publicis might influence NewsGuard’s ratings of drug industry competitors, such as alternative health sites. Being a Google partner,34,35 Publicis also has unprecedented ability to simply bury undesirable views that might hurt its clientele.

NewsGuard’s health-related service, HealthGuard,36 is also partnered with the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) — a progressive U.K.-based cancel-culture leader37 with extensive ties to the government and global think tanks that have labeled people questioning the COVID-19 vaccine as “threats to national security.”

The CCDH has also published a hit-list of 12 groups and individuals it wants Big Tech to bury, deplatform, and ban for disseminating COVID-19 information that runs counter to status quo propaganda. Not surprisingly, Mercola.com is on that list, and a ramp-up of personal threats that cannot be defended against in a court of law recently forced me to delete many of the articles discussing alternative treatments for COVID-19 from my website.

The Crime of the Century

If you get the chance, I recommend watching Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary “The Crime of the Century,” which details how the opioid epidemic was manufactured. In a Wall Street Journal television review, John Anderson writes, in part:38

“In Mr. Gibney’s two-part ‘Crime of the Century’ … the cinema is as exhilarating as the journalism is exhaustive. Still, the style remains in service to the story: how big pharma lied and bribed its way into billions of dollars while leaving death and devastation behind, through a seemingly conscience-free crusade to sell stronger and stronger opiates to more and more people.

It’s a success story, from the industry’s point of view. It’s also a story of villainy, with a catalog of villains — not just the Sackler family of Purdue Pharma, but their sales representatives; the U.S. congressmen to whom they made outsize donations … former prosecutors hired as lobbyists … and officials of the Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration …

‘The business of criminal cartels and pharmaceutical companies are connected,’ Mr. Gibney says in voiceover — the very obvious example being the drift to heroin by addicts thwarted by the increased expense and reduced availability of opioids. The director then goes about establishing how and why that is so.

The default argument of Purdue Pharma and its defenders is that drug users, not drug makers, are responsible for addiction. But as the miniseries points out, the information that was fed to doctors and on which patients based the use of prescriptions — including the claim that delayed-action OxyContin wasn’t addictive — was simply untrue.”

Unethical Behavior Is Par for the Course

While Publicis is trying to downplay its role in what has been described as the crime of the century, the lawsuit against it will hopefully result in a reevaluation of marketing ethics. The agency, knowing full well there was an epidemic of opioid abuse underway, resulting in tens of thousands of premature deaths each year, took on the job of increasing Purdue’s profits by making that lethal trend worse.

Publicis claims they were just doing what advertising agencies do — they created promotional materials that boost client revenue. However, this argument circumvents any notion of ethics and concern about public health. They’re basically admitting that it’s all about making money, regardless of the cost.

So, even if their actions were within legal limits (which the Massachusetts case will eventually establish), their actions were immoral and clearly undermined public health.

They now want you to believe they are protecting public health by supporting COVID-19 censorship, but this too is working against the public good. How can you possibly make an educated decision about whether or not to participate in this gene therapy experiment if you’re not allowed to hear anything about the risks?

What Publicis calls “misinformation” is simply information that contradicts the propaganda being put out by the hands that feed it, i.e., the drug industry. History tells us companies driven by profit interest make poor truth-tellers, as negative information will clearly have a detrimental impact on their bottom line. So, they lie and obfuscate. It’s that simple.

Public relations firms like Publicis are mere arms of these notoriously untruthful industries. They do their bidding because that’s what they’re paid to do. To think that Big Pharma and paid propagandists are looking out for anyone but themselves is dangerously naïve.

It is ironic doublespeak that Publicis claims to defend against misinformation that puts the public at risk, while being clearly guilty of crimes against humanity, having played a crucial role in one of the deadliest health care schemes involving lies and deceit.




Russell Brand: Why Are Drugmakers Who Caused Opioid Crisis in Charge of Solving the Pandemic?

By Children’s Health Defense Team | The Defender

Russell Brand wants you to know that the transnational global mega-companies creating vaccines for COVID-19 are the same drugmakers responsible for the opioid crisis that has killed more people than COVID.

In his latest video, Brand cites a Feb. 3 study in JAMA Psychiatry showing that from March 2020 to October 2020, opioid overdose cases were up by 29%, suggesting that society is now “more susceptible than ever to addiction.”

Judgments like the one against Johnson & Johnson, ordered by the state of Oklahoma to pay $572 million for “aggressively marketing” opioids, have had little impact on drugmakers for whom “profits override all other considerations,” Brand says.

Is it any wonder, Brand asks, that some people might question the motives of these same companies when it comes to their role in solving the pandemic?

“I suppose what we can learn from the opioid crisis is that a situation that was already bad, i.e. mental illness and addiction, was exacerbated by the agendas of certain transnational corporations, aided and abetted by an impotent FDA and a government unwilling to intervene in practices of big businesses. And I suppose it’s interesting that these very same companies are now charged with solving the biggest problem the world has seen for some time in the form of a pandemic.

The brand then asks the $64,000 question:

“How can you use the same mentality, and the same individuals, and the same organizations to solve that problem?”

If there’s an answer to that question, Brand says, at least you can be sympathetic when people have doubts and fears, not just about the vaccines made by these companies, but about “the power of these organizations and the manner in which they practice.”

Watch the video:




Can Ibogaine Solve the Opioid Crisis?

By Dylan CharlesWaking Times

The opioid crisis rages on behind the scenes of Covid and every other thing occupying public attention and in many big cities last year the crisis deepening. For example, in heavily locked down San Francisco, 360% more people died from overdoses than Covid-19.

We’ve been reporting on this issue for years but unfortunately, this is one of those public health issues, like medical cannabis, where the war on drugs is at odds with rationality, common sense, and compassion.

Regarding opioids, there is a very promising natural cure for the deadly withdrawals which keep so many from detoxing, but the DEA has it listed as a Schedule I drug, outlawing its possession. Ibogaine is the psychoactive alkaloid in the visionary drug iboga, which is the root bark of a small African shrub, and for decades it has been known to be very effective in treating opioid addicts.

The government however criminalizes possession of ibogaine, because according to the DEA, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

This is from an article I wrote in 2014, Opiates, Iboga and the Roots of Self Destruction

“Iboga is a psychoactive plant medicine derived from the root bark of a small African shrub, tabernanthe iboga, and has been used for perhaps thousands of years as a shamanic medicine and healing sacrament for tribal Africans of the Bwiti tradition and Pygmy peoples. The bark of the roots is removed, shredded, then ingested in raw form, or an extract of the primary psychoactive alkaloid, ibogaine, can be derived. Discovered as an anti-addictive medicine and potential cure for heroin addiction by Howard Lotsof in 1962, when properly administered as part of a comprehensive opiate detox program, it interrupts chemical dependence, remarkably stopping withdrawal symptoms almost immediately.

Most importantly, though, iboga reveals and can heal the root causes of addiction by triggering an intensely profound spiritual journey that can uproot and overcome the psychological basis of compulsive behavior.”

As the war on drugs grinds on leaving a generation’s deep trail of death, destruction, and terror in its wake, it appears inevitable that drugs will eventually win. This is frustrating to those who need help now, of course, but as things go in this capitalistic world, changes often come when profitability enters the picture.

In a remarkable look at how ibogaine has become the most promising potential treatment for the opioid crisis, Bloomberg financial news produced this informative and honest look at the emerging market for this incredible treatment.

The film features footage from the African village where 10th Generation Mossoko Bwiti Shaman Moughenda Mikala teaches and works with this sacred medicine. The footage was commissioned by the proprietor of Iboga Wellness, an outstanding iboga retreat center in Costa Rica.

About the Author

Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and host of the Battered Souls podcast. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong, and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.

Dylan is available for interviews and podcasts, contact him at WakingTimes@gmail.com.

This article (Can Ibogaine Solve the Opioid Crisis?) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.




Johnson & Johnson Exposed as ‘Kingpin’ Supplier, Seller, Lobbyist of Opioid Epidemic

Image Credit: Waking Times

By Elias Marat | Waking Times

Transnational corporation Johnson & Johnson has been accused of playing the role of “kingpin” in the nationwide opioid epidemic that continues to claim thousands of lives every year, according to an Axios report.

The pharmaceutical, medical, and consumer goods giant–which holds a range of properties including some of the most recognizable U.S. brands such as Band-Aids, No More Tears baby shampoo, and Neosporin, among others–has been accused by officials in the state of Oklahoma of playing the role of supplier, seller and lobbyist in the global opioid market.

J&J’s work in the painkiller market was done through two subsidiaries, Noramco and Tasmanian Alkaloids, which it sold to a private equity firm in 2016 for $650 million, according to Axios.

The company has long depicted itself as a “family company” operating under the credo:

“We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well.”

But the new revelations cast, in sharp relief, how the company pulverized entire communities and destroyed families while raking in massive profits from a crisis that has fed waves of crime and a crisis of addiction and deadly overdoses that claim over 100 lives per day.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has requested that the state release a vast tranche of confidential documents numbering in the millions of pages that Johnson & Johnson was forced to submit during the discovery phase of Oklahoma’s legal fight against the key companies who sparked the opioid crisis.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE……..




The US Opioid Epidemic — A War of a Different Kind

Video Source: MSNBC

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

The opioid epidemic — which between 2002 and 2015 alone claimed an estimated 202,600 Americans’ lives1 — shows absolutely no signs of leveling off or declining. On the contrary, recent statistics suggest the death toll is still trending upward, with more and more people abusing these powerful narcotics. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include2 methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®).

Related Article: Harvard Investigation Shows Doctors Are Paid Huge Sums To Prescribe Addictive Opioids

This dangerous class of drugs promises relief from pain and is filling a hole in human hearts and souls everywhere. According to the most recent data3 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose cases admitted into emergency rooms increased by more than 30 percent across the U.S. between July 2016 and September 2017. Overdose cases rose by:4

  • 30 percent among men
  • 31 percent among 24- to 35-year-olds
  • 36 percent among 35- to 54-year-olds
  • 32 percent among those 55 and older

In the Midwest region — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin — overdose cases rose by 70 percent and opioid-related mortality by 14 percent. Large cities also saw a 54 percent increase in overdose cases in that same timeframe. According to CDC officials, the results are “a wake-up call to the fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic.’’

‘The Opioid Diaries’

Curiously, opioid abuse appears to be a uniquely American problem. As noted in a recent write-up in New York Magazine,5 the U.S. “pioneered modern life. Now epic numbers of Americans are killing themselves with opioids to escape it.” I’ve written about opioid misuse and addiction on many occasions in recent years, and it seems one cannot discuss this issue enough. Many are still unaware of the dangers involved with filling that first prescription.

As an indication of the need for awareness, the March 5 issue of Time magazine, “The Opioid Diaries,”6 is aimed at exposing the national crisis. For the first time in the magazine’s history, an entire issue is devoted to a single photo essay — the work of photojournalist James Nachtwey, who has documented stories for Time for over three decades. In “The Opioid Diaries,” Nachtwey’s photos detail the stark reality of this all-American crisis.

He and editor Paul Moakley spent months traversing the U.S., interviewing over 200 people along the way. As noted by a deputy sheriff who has seen more than his fair share of the fallout of this epidemic, opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate. “It’s not just the guy who’s never worked a day in his life,” he says. “It’s airline pilots. It’s teachers. I’m sure there’s law enforcement, firemen out there hooked on it. It’s Joe Citizen that’s dying.”

A Country in Crisis

Here are some statistics about the U.S. opioid epidemic that really ought to get everyone’s attention:

Leading cause of death for younger Americans

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.7

Annual death toll greater than entire Vietnam War

Preliminary data for 2016 reveals the death toll from drug overdoses may be as high as 65,000,8 a 19 percent increase from 2015; the largest annual increase of drug overdose deaths in U.S. history, and a number that exceeds both the AIDS epidemic at its peak and the death toll of the Vietnam War in its entirety.9

That much-opposed war claimed the lives of 58,000 American troops. Now, we’re suffering a death toll exceeding that of the Vietnam War each and every year, courtesy of a drug addiction epidemic created by the pharmaceutical industry.

Deadlier than breast cancer

Opioids, specifically, killed 33,000 in 2015,10,11,12 and 42,249 in 2016, which is over 1,000 more deaths than were caused by breast cancer that same year.13

Synthetic opioid abuse skyrocketing

Deadly overdoses involving fentanyl, an incredibly potent synthetic opioid, rose by 50 percent between 2013 and 2014 and another 72 percent between 2014 and 2015. Over 20,000 of the drug overdose deaths in 2016 were attributed to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.14 In Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, fentanyl was responsible for at least 70 percent of all opioid-related deaths between July and December 2016.15

While some users will buy fentanyl on purpose, others buy tainted wares and end up taking it without knowing the risks. This is a critical problem, as fentanyl is so potent just a few grains can be deadly.

An inexpensive fentanyl test strip can check for the presence of the drug, and trials where test strips have been given to users show they’re more likely to cut back on the amount they’re taking when they know it’s tainted with fentanyl. As such, fentanyl testing can be employed as “a point-of-care test within harm-reduction programs” aimed at lowering the death toll.16

Significant factor in unemployment rates

Opioid abuse has been identified as a significant factor in rising unemployment among men, accounting for 20 percent of the increase in male unemployment between 1999 and 2015.17 Nearly half of all unemployed men between the ages of 25 and 54 are using opioids on a daily basis.18

Americans use vast majority of global opioid supplies

Americans consume 99 percent of the hydrocodone sold worldwide, and 81 percent of all oxycodone — approximately 30 times more than medically necessary for the population size of the U.S.19 A number of different statistics convey this massive overuse.

For example, in a five-year span, between 2007 and 2012, 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills were shipped to West Virginia, which has just 1.8 million residents.20 More than 1 in 5 Americans insured by BlueCross BlueShield were prescribed an opioid in 2015, and insurance claims involving opioid dependence rose by nearly 500 percent between 2010 and 2016.21

Declining life expectancy

Life expectancy for both men and women in the U.S. has declined two years in a row,22,23 and this decline is largely attributable to the opioid crisis. Just as the opioid epidemic, declining life expectancy is a uniquely American phenomenon. No other developed countries has experienced this decline in life expectancy.

A Story of Misery

There are compelling reasons to suspect the opioid epidemic was purposely engineered by the drug companies that make them, and that these same companies have, and continue to, shy away from doing what’s necessary to curb the use of opioid painkillers for financially-driven reasons.

Moreover, while this was not likely planned, the industry’s misleading promotion of narcotic pain relievers appears to have coincided with a growing trend of emotional pain and spiritual disconnect, and opioids satisfy people’s need not only for physical pain relief but also psychological and existential pain relief. As noted by New York Magazine:24

The scale and darkness of this phenomenon is a sign of a civilization in a more acute crisis than we knew, a nation overwhelmed by a warp-speed, postindustrial world, a culture yearning to give up, indifferent to life and death, enraptured by withdrawal and nothingness …

[U]nless you understand what users get out of an illicit substance, it’s impossible to understand its appeal, or why an epidemic takes off, or what purpose it is serving in so many people’s lives. And it is significant, it seems to me, that the drugs now conquering America are downers: They are not the means to engage in life more vividly but to seek a respite from its ordeals … And some part of being free from all pain makes you indifferent to death itself.”

The article cites a number of firsthand accounts of the experience opioids provides — the blissful serenity of being able to stand apart from one’s psychological pain in addition to physical pain; the sensation of being connected to some deeper wellspring of peace. These are experiences typically derived from spiritual practices, and hint at a widespread lack of connectedness to the divine in general.

An Epic Failure of Government

While the drug industry deserves a large portion of the blame for creating the opioid epidemic, the U.S. government also mismanaged the situation right from the start by supporting drug companies’ efforts to make narcotic pain killers more readily available for people with nonlethal pain conditions, and its slow reaction to the problem has only allowed matters to worsen. In a recent Washington Post article, columnist David Von Drehle writes:25

“With the possible exception of alcohol, no substance on Earth has a longer track record of disastrous addiction than opium and its derivatives … Yet despite centuries of hard-won knowledge, pharmaceutical companies and prescribing physicians were allowed to make such opioids as Percocet and OxyContin widely available as treatments not just for acute pain, but for chronic discomfort.

Their fantasy of benign long-term opioid use is the root of the epidemic. Nearly 80 percent of heroin users report that prescription pain relievers were their gateway drugs … Such a failure of epic proportions by a generation of public-health officials merits a major congressional investigation to reduce the chance that anything like it ever happens again.”

The U.S. government is further exacerbating drug use by tightening restrictions on less harmful and far safer non-narcotic alternatives such as medical marijuana, CBD oil and kratom. As noted by New York Magazine, “The iron law of prohibition, as first stipulated by activist Richard Cowan in 1986, is that the more intense the crackdown, ‘the more potent the drugs will become.’ In other words, the harder the enforcement, the harder the drugs.”

Related Article: Groundbreaking Study Reveals Marijuana NOT a Gateway Drug, Can Actually Treat Tobacco and Opioid Addiction

History Tells Us Prohibition Doesn’t Work

During the prohibition of alcohol, people didn’t turn to beer making. They started making hard liquor — moonshine. The same thing is happening now, as heroin — the street version of opioids — is being replaced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than heroin. Users buy what they can get, and so the spiral of drug abuse and death continues spinning out of control.

“The critical Office of National Drug Control Policy has spent a year without a permanent director,” New York Magazine writes. “Its budget is slated to be slashed by 95 percent, and … Kellyanne Conway — Trump’s ‘opioid czar’ — has no expertise in government, let alone in drug control.

Although Trump plans to increase spending on treating addiction, the overall emphasis is on an even more intense form of prohibition, plus an advertising campaign. Attorney General Jeff Sessions even recently opined that he believes marijuana is really the key gateway to heroin — a view so detached from reality it beggars belief …

One of the few proven ways to reduce overdose deaths is to establish supervised injection sites that eventually wean users off the hard stuff while steering them into counseling, safe housing, and job training …

[W]e would have to contemplate actually providing heroin to addicts in some cases, and we’d have to shift much of the current spending on prohibition, criminalization, and incarceration into a huge program of opioid rehabilitation … We would, in short, have to end the war on drugs.”

Making Drug Use Safer Doesn’t Work Either

On the other hand, the safer you make drug use, the more drugs will be misused. That’s exactly what a recent study looking the variations in timing of expanded access to naloxone found. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an overdose if administered quickly enough.

In 2013, states began expanding access to the drug beyond trained medical professionals, and more than 40 states now have expanded access, making it available to police officers, nonmedical emergency responders, teachers and even family and friends of the addicts themselves.

While the idea behind expanded access was to prevent deaths, by lowering the risk opioid-related overdoses shot up even more. As mentioned earlier, overdoses increased by more than 30 percent in the 14 months leading up to September 2017.

Worse, mortality increased by 14 percent in the Midwest after naloxone access was expanded, in large part due to increased use of fentanyl, which typically requires multiple doses of naloxone. Even with multiple doses, it doesn’t always work. Expanded access to naloxone has also led to more opioid-related crime, including the illegal possession and sale of opioids.

Common Pain Meds Are Just as Effective as Opioids, Study Finds

Evidence suggests opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, knew exactly what they were doing when they claimed opioids — which are chemically very similar to heroin — have an exceptionally low addiction rate when taken by people with pain.

In fact, the massive increase in opioid sales has been traced back to an orchestrated marketing plan aimed at misinforming doctors about the drug’s addictive potential. The drug’s general effectiveness against pain has also been vastly exaggerated by drug manufacturers. In April 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a paper in which it noted that:26

“Most placebo-controlled, randomized trials of opioids have lasted six weeks or less, and we are aware of no study that has compared opioid therapy with other treatments in terms of long-term (more than 1 year) outcomes related to pain, function, or quality of life.

The few randomized trials to evaluate opioid efficacy for longer than six weeks had consistently poor results. In fact, several studies have showed that use of opioids for chronic pain may actually worsen pain and functioning, possibly by potentiating pain perception …”

More recently, government-funded research27,28,29 published in the journal JAMA earlier this month confirmed that patients taking opioids did not experience better pain-related function than those taking far safer, non-narcotic pain relievers. The study is the first to compare opioids against non-opioid pain medication for people with chronic back pain or osteoarthritic pain in the hip or knee.

Contrary to popular belief, patients who took Tylenol, ibuprofen or lidocaine actually reported less pain intensity than those taking an opioid drug such as morphine, Vicodin or oxycodone. Not surprisingly, however, opioid users were far more likely to experience adverse side effects. According to the authors:

“Treatment with opioids was not superior to treatment with non-opioid medications for improving pain-related function over 12 months. Results do not support initiation of opioid therapy for moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain … Overall, opioids did not demonstrate any advantage over non-opioid medications that could potentially outweigh their greater risk of harms.”

Treating Your Pain Without Drugs

It seems we’re not going to get anywhere with this epidemic until or unless we begin to address deeper societal issues. Most areas have lost a sense of community, and social media has only deepened the gulf between us. In many ways, the opioid epidemic appears to mirror a deeper, psychological and spiritual disconnect.

It’s important to recognize and address our human need for life purpose, a sense of community and shared values. There are no quick fixes to existential despair. It will require a shift in mindset across society as a whole. With an eye on the big picture, it appears we really need to find ways to reinfuse meaning into our lives.

With regard to physical pain, we clearly need to have compassion. But the most compassionate treatment isn’t necessarily a narcotic pain reliever. A number of studies have already confirmed that opioids do not work well at all for chronic pain. Most recently, they were found to be no more effective than Tylenol and ibuprofen over the long term. Opioids really must be a drug of last resort, and should almost never be considered for chronic long-term use. It’s important for both doctors and patients to recognize this.

That said, considering the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, I strongly urge you to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs. The good news is there are many natural alternatives to treating pain, including the following:

Medical cannabis

Medical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 28 states. You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.30

Kratom

Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a plant remedy that has become a popular opioid substitute.31 In August 2016, the DEA issued a notice saying it was planning to ban kratom, listing it as Schedule 1 controlled substance.

However, following massive outrage from kratom users who say opioids are their only alternative, the agency reversed its decision.32 Still, its scheduling remains uncertain, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently declared kratom an opioid.33

Kratom is safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain. However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should be used with great care. There’s very little research showing how to use it safely and effectively, and it may have a very different effect from one person to the next. The other issue to address is that there are a number of different strains available with different effects.

Also, while it may be useful for weaning people off opioids, kratom is in itself addictive. So, while it appears to be a far safer alternative to opioids, it’s still a powerful and potentially addictive substance. So please, do your own research before trying it.

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960s for the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your immune function and ease pain.

Curcumin: A primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmericcurcumin has been shown in more than 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Curcumin is hard to absorb, so best results are achieved with preparations designed to improve absorption. It is very safe and you can take two to three every hour if you need to.
Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known, astaxanthin has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. Higher doses are typically required for pain relief, and you may need 8 milligrams or more per day to achieve results.
Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites, as it worked well for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider eating some of the pulpy core when you consume the fruit.
Cayenne cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.
Cetyl myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in dairy butter and fish, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation of CMO to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils: These oils contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea, or incorporated into fresh vegetable juice.

Read more great articles at mercola.com 




Will Opioid Lawsuits By County Officials Against Big Pharma Set Legal Precedent To Sue Vaccine Makers?

 

By Catherine Frompovich | Activist Post

They know what they’ve been doing. They’ve been misrepresenting the dangers of these dangerous addictive drugs for years.” – State Rep. Gen DiGirolamo

Those pharmaceutical companies have made billions of dollars off the deaths of our children and our loved one.” – Delaware County Councilman David White

Big Pharma companies have a significant presence in the suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, being neighbors doesn’t matter, since Delaware County, the SE Pennsylvania county constituting some of Philadelphia’s western suburbs, filed a lawsuit on September 21, 2017 against eleven pharmaceutical companies regarding the overwhelming opioid epidemic and problem.  The reason for the lawsuit is the amount of money Delaware County had, and has, to pay for all types of services rendered and other expenses due to opioid drug abuses. Delaware County, represented by Attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi of Saltz Mongeluzzi & Barrett, a Philadelphia law firm, filed a civil suit against pharmaceutical companies and the medical doctors who advised the companies regarding misinformation provided by the drug makers to physicians and others.

Attorney Mongeluzzi said the lawsuit will show Big Pharma funded false companies which “Created disinformation to hoodwink and convince doctors that opioids weren’t addictive.” Rumblings of “tobacco science” there.  According to Mongeluzzi, 20 percent of all doctors’ visits in 2014 resulted with an opioid prescription! What was the incentive behind that type of pill-pushing?  Dolman Law Group helps with healthcare representation in many different practice areas. 

In another Philadelphia suburb, Bensalem, Bucks County, Bensalem Mayor Joe DiGirolamo and township leaders are working on filing a huge civil lawsuit against four Pharma companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma.  According to the attorney who will be filing Bensalem’s lawsuit, Greg Heller as pro bono counsel, “Nuisance, fraud negligence, in some situations, breach of contract,” apparently will be some of the charges filed. Fraud seems to be a prominent ‘attribute’ mentioned by those who complain about Pharma tactics regarding pill-pushing. [CJF emphasis.  Mayor DiGirolamo says, “These distributors and drug makers have to take an obligation and understand what’s happening and get a handle on it.”

It will be extremely efficacious legally when some lawsuit can get that legal point “embedded in case law” and have it applied at law regarding the overly-powerful, “money talks” Big Pharma strangleholds on the CDC, FDA and public health agencies due to their lobbying techniques but, more so, with their fraudulent, self-produced-funded-often-fraudulent-and-pseudoscientific “consensus science” research, plus their ever-present sham medical journals they own, produce and publish. Let’s not forget Big Pharma’s media presence, advertising and political leverage.  After all, the U.S. Congress seemingly has been in Pharma’s back pocket ever since Congress gave vaccine makers a “get out of jail free” card in 1986 with the infamous National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34).

Ever since then, vaccine makers have gone ‘hog wild’ with manufacturing vaccines for anything and everything—regardless. However, those toxic jabs have been ‘championed’ by U.S. health agencies (CDC/FDA) to the point of supersaturation of vaccines and misinformation about them.  If Delaware County and Bensalem are suing Pharma because of misinformation provided by the drug makers to physicians and others that resulted in the opioid crises, what’s to say that similar malfeasance has not occurred with vaccine biologicals?

Not only should Big Pharma vaccine makers be sued, but the U.S. CDC and FDA should be included for not performing proper oversight of the drug/vaccine licensure processes by accepting and/or creating fraudulent information that was disseminated globally to other nation states health agencies, including the World Health Organization.

During the discovery process for every class-action lawsuit filed against pharmaceuticals and their makers, interesting documents surfaced proving hanky-panky science and surprises even CDC/FDA may not have known.

Regarding a lawsuit against CDC/FDA, plaintiffs and their lawyers can prove from the public record the abuse committed by government agencies by not properly safeguarding and disseminating correct vaccine science information as far back as 1999 with

  1. the Verstraeten study implicating the MMR vaccine in autism, which led to the famous Simpsonwood Conference of June 2000 when 52 specially-invited pharma and WHO executives pow-wowed with CDC/FDA to agree to rework the data to prove NO ethylmercury (Thimerosal) association, which Dr. Verstraeten eventually did, was published and disseminated by the CDC/FDA globally. (Source) and (Source)
  2. The Poul Thorsen fraudulent autism studies, which the CDC promotes as the primary studies indicating no ASD and MMR vaccine connection, need to be retracted as Thorsen is wanted by the CDC for fraud and other counts, which I am in the process of writing another article about the movement to get Thorsen extradited back to the USA to face the indictment.(Source: Reuters)
  3. The August 2010 false vaccine efficacy qui tam lawsuit filed in Philadelphia Federal Court by two former Merck & Company employees alleging Merck for almost ten years falsified the efficacy rate of the Mumps active in its MMR vaccine at 95%, whereas Merck allegedly added some rabbit blood magic to the efficacy tests to ‘prove’ efficacy! S. v Merck & Co.
  4. CDC epidemiologist whistleblower William Thompson, PhD, who produced thousands of documents for U.S. Congressman Bill Posey regarding the unbelievable scientific fraud the CDC committed regarding destroying pertinent data proving the association between autism and the MMR vaccine in young black boys less than three years of age. See the documentary VAXXED: from Cover-up to Catastrophe.

A short video of Rep. Posey asking for a Congressional investigation into vaccines.

https://youtu.be/jGRjn_gIJw0?

The above facts are more than real or accurate; they are publicly known and hiding in plain sight, yet Congress, the courts, the media or some “Clarence Darrow-like-lawyer” have not taken on that winnable legal challenge based on scientific fraud and the harm done to innocent children and adults, plus the dissemination of false medical information regarding vaccines that have damaged infants, toddlers, teens and adults!

The proof is found in the HHS/HRSA VICP Adjudication Awards Paid, pages 8 and 9.

A Clarence Darrow would argue eloquently how almost three generations of children are on the Autism Spectrum since the mandated and uploaded vaccine schedules since 1989; that U.S. children are the least healthy but the most vaccinated in the world; and non-vaccinated children are much healthier than vaccinated children.

A Clarence Darrow would point dramatically to the fact “United States Comes in Last Again on Health Compared to Other Countries.”

Source: The Commonwealth Fund via NBC News link above

Clarence Darrow would point out the overwhelming extent of scientific fraud [1].

He would win his case, as Darrow was a civil liberties proponent, and what’s more likely to be an infringement upon civil liberties than denial of bodily integrity and choice in taking care of one’s body, especially when fraudulent information is pushed to mandate certain vested-interest products, vaccines and pills, including opioids, must be taken and used.  Is there a modern-day plaintiff’s “Clarence Darrow” anywhere?