As part of the largest civil action in U.S. history, the secrecy of details surrounding the rise and proliferation of the opioid epidemic has finally lifted. A U.S. District judge ordered information from the ARCOS (Automation of Reports and Consolidated Order System) database, compiled and monitored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), be released, giving us a real look into the depth of this crisis. And it’s mind-blowing.
76 billion opioid pills — yep, that’s billion with a “b” — were distributed in the U.S. from 2006 through 2012. That’s 36 pills for every adult and child in this country … every year. Right in our backyards, Leavenworth, Kan., was among the areas hardest hit. In the county during this window of time, 118,021,330 pain pills were distributed, or the equivalent of 227 pills per person per year.