How McKinsey, the World’s Most Elite Consulting Firm, Helped Turbocharge America’s Opioid Epidemic

In America today, drug use, like poverty, is often perceived as an individual choice or the product of a morally defective lifestyle. But the opioid epidemic has been a top-down affair since its very beginning, in many ways closer to the sterile boardrooms of corporate America and ivied architecture of Oxford and Yale than any poor neighborhood in Ohio or West Virginia, fed more by capital’s visceral greed and insatiable demand for profit than the individual agency of its victims.

Driven by its overriding loyalty toward the former, McKinsey’s best and brightest effectively helped Purdue Pharma carry out the corporate equivalent of manslaughter, subordinating human life to cold numerical calculus in the process. Last month’s multibillion-dollar settlement may bring an end to the case, but as Ralph Boggs — who was prescribed OxyContin in the early 2000s and who recently lost his son to a fentanyl overdose — told[35] the New York Times: “We can’t get our loved ones back. To me that’s not worth anything. You can’t write a dollar amount for that.”

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  24. ^ strong predictors (www.insidehighered.com)
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