The ‘drug war’ has been raging in America for decades, costing taxpayers millions, with no real change in the number of people addicted to drugs. We have, in fact, an entire generation of ‘legal’ drug addicts. But there is hope for meaningful change in this world of drug addicts and incarcerations – in Gloucester, MA.
Instead of locking up drug addicts, this police department has a policy of helping them; even better, they are calling out the real perpetrators behind the national drug addiction problem – pharmaceutical companies. You read that correctly – instead of throwing drug addicts in jail, the force uses real solutions that work, without any force, and without bleeding taxpayers dry.
Gloucester’s police department has initiated a program dubbed the “Angel” initiative. Instead of being handed criminal charges for their drug addictions, they are offered a chance to get help. The new program has already sent nearly 200 people to drug treatment centers.
Instead of following the DEA’s war-like raids on private homes and businesses suspected of housing drug addicts, the Gloucester Police Department has realized that it isn’t ‘street’ drugs causing the problem as much as Big Pharma flooding the streets with opiates. Some addicts get their fix from their own doctor’s prescription, and others are sold on a black market, after a ‘dummy’ patient visits as many as 12 doctors’ offices and pharmacies in a day.
The department is publicly ‘calling out’ Big Pharma with recent Facebook postings as well. Listing the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of 5 pharmaceutical CEO’s they feel are contributing to the problem.
The posting, which beseeched followers to contact the CEOs, reads:
“Gotta go make some calls…..
Top 5 Pharmaceutical CEO Salaries:
- 1. Eli Lilly – John Lechleiter $14.48 million
[email protected] 317-276-2000
- 2. 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
- 4. Johnson & Johnson – Alex Gorsky $20.38 million
[email protected] 732-524-0400
- 5. Pfizer – Ian Read $23.3 million
[email protected] 212-573-2323
They’re all on Forbes Top 100 CEO salaries as well.
In 2013 The Huffington Post reported that the 11 largest pharmaceutical companies made $711 BILLION in profits in the last decade while their CEO’s made a combined $1.57 BILLION in the same period.
Now…don’t get mad. Just politely ask them what they are doing to address the opioid epidemic in the United States and if they realize that the latest data shows almost 80% of addicted persons start with a legally prescribed drug that they make. They can definitely be part of the solution here and I believe they will be….might need a little push.”
Shockingly, Pfizer reached out to the department within 48 hours of the initial Facebook post:
“Pssst….Pfizer called (honestly)…we are meeting with them. When you continue to make your calls, thank them because they could have ignored us all. Instead, within 48 hours…they responded. We’ve got Mass Assisted Health Plans at the table (MAHP). They’re doing good things. Treatment Providers are removing barriers daily. More police agencies are signing onto to PAARI.
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.
People with addiction are doing their part every day by walking into the police station and asking for help.
We’ve proved there are beds. We’ve facilitated nearly 200 people into treatment in 3 1/2 months. We are seeing a reduction of addiction related ancillary criminal complaints.
Now we’ve reached providers, insurance, and pharma is starting to come onboard.
Next up: Prescription Monitoring System interconnectivity between states, education and sanctions for MD’s who would continue to blatantly overprescribe, and finding out the relationship between legislators and health care…hmmm. We’ve said it before…if law enforcement can step up and say “We’re sorry…we should have done this years ago” then so should everyone else. There are entities who have to admit things were approached incorrectly and take part in correcting the system. If they do that, law enforcement has no issues with them. We don’t want to be in the health care business…but we are really good at holding people accountable.
With your support…this is becoming a change in the conversation.
You all are truly pioneers in this and we are so proud to be part of your voice.
Perhaps these pharmaceutical companies can pay for the rehabilitation of all the addicts that would normally end up in jail cells, and instead, the CEOs can visit a cell for some time for acting as drug criminals in ways that are reminiscent of the Cocaine Kings of South America.
Chief Campanello’s initiative is undoubtedly game-changing and is already leading to progress, with other police departments joining. Surely, if we keep calling these CEO’s ‘out’ on their actions, they’ll have to make changes.
I look forward to seeing more revolutionary acts like those of Chief C.
Featured image courtesy of Counter Current News
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.