So if it was only 100,000 or 50,000 or 40,000 attributed to them, you’d be ok with that?
If you’d actually read my post, then you’d know that I’m not OK with that.
What I’m arguing here is that persistent inaccurate and exaggerated reporting is driving political pressure to something about the overdoses, regardless of whether that something is effective and regardless of whether it destroys the lives of others.
To respond correctly to the problem, we need to understand what’s actually going on. Instead the media exaggerates the problem and assigns the blame on Purdue, the Sacklers, Insys, etc. Yes, there have been bad actors here, and they should be punished. But that doesn’t solve the problem. They aren’t the root causes.
Instead, the repeated exaggeration of the problem and the over simplification of its causes are triggering knee-jerk reactions that are doing real actual harm to a whole other group of victims without doing anything to solve the problem.
Here’s another way to look at it. If I (incorrectly) report that, in the last 20 years, roughly 800,000 Americans have died in auto crashes involving Volkswagens, and repeat it over and over again, people are going to start believing it. And then I’d be able to whip up a frenzy. The other automakers that compete with Volkswagen would have incentive to help do that. To save hundreds of thousands of American lives, clearly we need to outlaw Volkswagens. (And, yes, Volkswagen has done some shady things, like cheating on emissions testing, so they should be punished even if they aren’t the only cause of auto accidents.) The actual effect of this is that we haven’t really saved any American lives because it turns out that only a fraction of automotive deaths actually involved Volkswagens (let along being caused by Volkswagens). In the mean time, we’ve hurt people who had been employed by Volkswagen, and by companies the make parts for Volkswagens and the mechanics that repair them. People that owned a Volkswagen lose the vehicle that was helping them live their lives. We’ve created a whole second class of victims, without addressing the problem at all because we focused on the “obvious” root cause and reacted without thinking through the ramifications.