Ready for a positive police story? Where will it lead – you decide.
Yesterday, I reported at Natural Blaze that a Gloucester, Massachusetts police department fed up with Big Pharma posted the top 5 CEO salaries and emails online. Their Facebook status erupted with cheers in the comments and many shares. The department bemoaned the city’s drug problem and took aim at Big Pharma’s role in creating addiction through prescription opioid painkillers.
The Big Pharma salaries were as follows:
5. Eli Lilly – John Lechleiter $14.48 million [email protected] 317-276-2000
4. Abbott Labs – Miles D. White $17.7 million [email protected] 847-937-6100
3. Merck – Kenneth C. Frazier $25 million + cool private jet. [email protected] 908-423-1000
2. Johnson & Johnson – Alex Gorsky $20.38 million [email protected] 732-524-0400
1. Pfizer – Ian Read $23.3 million [email protected] 212-573-2323
The department urged people to politely press the CEOs about their companies’ roles in the statistic that 80% of drug addiction starts with “gateway” legal painkillers. Indeed, the FDA just approved opiate use for children even though states where medical marijuana is legal have seen a 25% drop in painkiller deaths. And, a major review last year found that pharmaceutical painkillers cause more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.
The department’s urging worked.
Someone from Pfizer called to meet with them and people following the page are awaiting the results.
Drawing more cheers, the Chief wrote:
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This is not because of us, this is because of YOU.
Addiction is a disease.
No way we are arresting someone who comes in for help.
No way are we judging anyone.
Previously, Gloucester drew national attention with their Angel initiative that would help – not harm or imprison – people seeking help with addiction.
Angel Program illustration from The Guardian newspaper…wow
Ana Kasparian reports:
There is a growing body of evidence that proves criminalizing addicts does very little to combat drug addiction, and rehabilitation is much more effective than throwing a non-violent person in prison.
However, the best part about the department’s strategy is their clear understanding of why opiate addiction has become such an epidemic in the U.S. As I mentioned in an earlier piece, the uptick in heroin addictions is the direct consequence of pharmaceutical companies pushing painkillers like OxyContin for years, which are also known as opioids. In fact, prescription painkillers accounted for 16,000 deaths, or nearly four out of every ten fatal drug overdoses in America in 2012 alone.
Overall, heroin use has jumped 63% from 2002 to 2013, and the CDC makes clear that those who are addicted to prescription painkillers are 40% more likely to get addicted to heroin in the future.
Regardless of where the conversation with drug companies like Pfizer takes them and regardless of the results of their rehabilitation program – this bit of news has restored some faith and positivity among its supporters.
Recent posts by Heather Callaghan