Post Reports

Seven years, 76 billion pain pills - tracking the opioid epidemic in the U.S.

Scott Higham and Steven Rich unpack the DEA’s pain pill database. Sean Sullivan explains what’s missing in presidential candidates’ appeals to Hispanic voters. And Justin Moyer on an alternative currency.
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Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.

In this episode

Newly released data reveals where 76 billion pain pills went
The nation’s largest drug companies have paid more than $1 billion in fines to the Justice Department and Food and Drug Administration over opioid-related issues. Those firms have settled for millions of dollars in state lawsuits, whose terms have, until now, kept out of the public’s grasp key information about the size and scope of the epidemic. 

After a lengthy legal battle, investigative reporters Scott Higham and Steven Rich gained access to a database that reveals what each company knew about the number of pills it was shipping and dispensing, and when they were aware of those volumes – year by year, town by town. 

They say the companies allowed the drugs to reach the streets of many communities, despite indications that those pills were being sold in apparent violation of federal law and diverted to the black market. 

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How to win over Latino voters
Democratic presidential hopefuls have proposed increasingly permissive steps on immigration policy: providing health-care plans for undocumented immigrants, decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings, and more. 

But if their positions are designed to energize the growing Hispanic electorate, some say the candidates are going about it the wrong way. Politics writer Sean Sullivan reports that some leaders in Latino communities fear that candidates may be moving too far left in their quest to woo Hispanic voters. 

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It’s about time
Imagine an economy that trades not in money – but in time. That’s what time banks are doing in communities across the United States. When participants spend an hour of their time with someone in need, they earn an hour of time to use at a later date.
 
“What’s revolutionary about time banks is that they treat everyone’s time equally,” says Post reporter Justin Moyer. “It doesn’t matter if you spend an hour helping someone redraft their estate plan because you’re an attorney and that’s something you know how to do, or if you spend an hour helping someone plant cucumber seeds because you have a green thumb.”

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.