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Your Call: Should drug companies be held responsible for the opioid crisis?

142 Americans die of a drug overdose every day, according to the CDC. A White House commission is urging the Trump administration to declare a national emergency. A number of states, cities, and counties, including Ohio and Missouri, are suing pharmaceutical companies saying they caused the crisis with a campaign of fraud and deception. 

It's been a huge national story, but the key role that drug companies played in causing it – with aggressive marketing and an unwillingness to crack down on “pill mills” – gets remarkably little play. Should drug companies be held responsible for the suffering and social costs caused by this crisis? 


Sam Quinones, independent journalist, and author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

Liz Essley Whyte, reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing

Web Resources: 

Sam Quinones: Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

The Atlantic:Are Pharmaceutical Companies to Blame for the Opioid Epidemic?

Center for Public Integrity:Politics of pain: Drugmakers fought state opioid limits amid crisis


The New Yorker: Who Is Responsible for the Opioid Epidemic?

The Globe and Mail: Is Litigation the Answer to the Opioid Crisis?


Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.
Ali Budner came to KALW as a volunteer reporter with Crosscurrents in early 2009, then joined the Your Call team as a producer in March of 2010. She loves the dynamic daily interactions of live radio and the inspiring guests and listeners that Your Call attracts. She still makes stories for Crosscurrents in her free time.