The Third Wave
After last week’s plunge into the dark underbelly of video game workers, Patriot Act returns this week for a shocking look at the “Third Wave” of Opioid addiction – Fentanyl. With a smattering of jokes throughout the episode, Hasan Minhaj explores the origin and issues with this drug and just how devastating it can be for communities across America.
Although an antidote to its addictive grip exists in the form of Naloxine, Fentanyl has been recently laced with heroin to produce a cocktail of devastating effects. With enough power to kill an elephant, this dangerous drug has been made worse by legal pharmaceutical companies who sell this instead of other painkillers. Shockingly this drug is 50 times stronger that Heroin and it’s devastating impact can be seen through several examples here, including one tale about a sales rep being present with a Doctor during a check-up.
Although many believe the drug is shipped from Mexico, surprisingly it predominantly originates from China and is shipped across to the US. To make matters worse, companies like Johnson & Johnson have downplayed the effects of Fentanyl and one company, Insys, actually went bankrupt over their agenda-driven manner in aggressively selling this drug.
After a good joke about U2’s new album, we leave the episode with a look at how these slimy companies are now marketing an antidote to the very epidemic they created in the first place. Hasan then finishes on an ominous note discussing Dsuvia, a drug about to launch on the market which is 1000× stronger than Morphine. What could possibly go wrong?
With pharmaceutical companies operating in a mostly for-profit environment in the US, right now there’s a real conflict of interest gripping the nation. Unlike in the UK, which is currently protected by the godsend that is the NHS, in the States the healthcare system is a very different animal. It seems so alien and shocking to me that these companies can get away with such malicious practices, especially hearing one of the sales representatives happy that a client has cancer so they can sell them drugs.
Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem in America. In the meantime, Hasan does a good job laying out the problems in an easy-to-digest way, with enough jokes and wit to keep things moving. Quite what the future holds for the industry though remains to be seen.