In the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking win, “The Oxy Electorate” has become a simple catchall to define a complex socioeconomic problem in America’s former manufacturing centers. The West Virginia Gazette and Mail reported over the weekend that the despair in these areas is being met with a tsunami of painkillers from America’s drug companies. Per Eric Eyre:
In six years, drug wholesalers showered the state with 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills, while 1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two painkillers, a Sunday Gazette-Mail investigation found. The unfettered shipments amount to 433 pain pills for every man, woman and child in West Virginia.
“These numbers will shake even the most cynical observer,” said former Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, a retired pharmacist who finished his term earlier this month. “Distributors have fed their greed on human frailties and to criminal effect. There is no excuse and should be no forgiveness.”
The entire story is as maddening as it is detailed and well-reported, providing maps and charts to help the reader visualize the scale of the problem. There are clearly three companies most to blame: Cardinal Health, AmeriSource Bergen, and McKesson, as this chart demonstrates.
Simple racism is not enough to explain the election of Donald Trump. There are two Americas: areas centered around the Industrial Revolution, and others based on the Digital Revolution. Not only is society leaving people behind as it moves into a new era, but some of our largest conglomerates are exploiting that pain and desperation. You should definitely take some time out of your day to check out part one as well as part two. Widespread informed anger is one of the most effective ways to combat “capitalism” which preys on the weak and vulnerable.