Many to blame for crisis, including U.S. government

We have known for some time that even as the danger of prescription pain pills containing opioids was becoming clear, drug companies were shipping out hundreds of millions of them. Some — not all — doctors continued to write prescriptions for them despite warnings that might not be best for patients.

Now, a more insidious side to the “pill mill” scandal has been uncovered. Earlier in this decade, as the substance abuse crisis deepened, the actual number of pain pills distributed slacked off, The Associated Press found.

But at the same time, the AP concluded, “Doctors were prescribing — and the industry was supplying — stronger pills.” Higher concentrations of opioids were being built into the pills.

The role played by some drug manufacturers and distributors, as well as by some health care practitioners, is becoming known, little by little. The AP’s revelation indicates the situation is more complex than may have been recognized, however.

Clearly, the issue needs to be pursued.

While we are at it, let’s not forget the huge elephant in the room — the federal government. The Food and Drug Administration is the entity assigned with approving medications. What was it doing? People will have you believe that we need such government agencies to “protect” us from bad products. If the government is such a failure, what good is it?