Was Prince the Latest Opioid Casualty?

The autopsy results from Prince’s unexpected death are not in yet, but it has been reported that the musical star had the prescription opioid painkiller Percocet in his possession when he died. Unconfirmed reports suggest Prince not only used prescription opioids for pain but may have had an addiction.

If so, Prince is like millions of other Americans who have become opioid addicts through a Pharma-backed prescribing spree that is still going on. The government has made efforts to better “educate” doctors about opioid dangers, and added better warnings on some drugs. Regulatory agencies have cracked down on pill mills, traffickers and even the shipping giants Federal Express and United Parcel Service (who knowingly delivered “controlled substances and prescription drugs from online pharmacies to individuals who subsequently died or accidentally caused the death of others” said a federal lawsuit).

But here are two things the government has not done. It hasn’t acknowledged that the opioid addiction epidemic was created by Big Pharma. And it hasn’t stopped waving through its continuing stream of new dangerous drugs.

In fact, on the same day the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to tighten restrictions on hydrocodone combination products like Vicodin, the agency also approved the long-acting drug Zohydro with five to 10 times the abuse potential of OxyContin. The opioids Actiq (fentanyl) and the long-acting hydrocodone (Zydone) are also readily available.

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