NPJ Book Review: American Cartel, Inside the Battle to Bring Down the Opioid Industry  by Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz 

Review by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor

American Cartel is a remarkable account and serious look into the perverted greed of not only the drug companies involved, but also the heart-wrenching deaths that broke so many families apart by what now we know as the opioid epidemic. This documented work is told and lead by a group of DEA agents with the skills presented from an agent by the name of Joseph Rannazzisi, a native New Yorker who studied this travesty for approximately thirty years and a group of lawyers who included a West Virginia native Paul Farrell Jr., they were among the many that began the investigation into the drug industry during a time that still lingers of the worst drug epidemic in this country’s history.

This is a story of corporate American greed that not only reveals  the failings of our own government to step in and stop, not only our very well educated and informed medical professionals that had every opportunity to decline from involvement during this pitiful destructive time caused by our very own leaders who turned a blind eye to the corporate greed that was in action, but the demand for justice to be served for the families of the dead, the loved ones left behind in horror through the toughest fight to somehow right this wrong through the most difficult civil action and litigation that has ever taken place. 

The investigation not only reveals the indifference of big business, but the blatant disregard we witnessed and continue to do so from Washington’s elected leaders, it uncovers the deadly sins committed by the lobbying firms, the rise of what has been known as the pill mills, while also telling the sad tale of what this epidemic took from us, the lives of so many, and the toll this major epidemic took on the/american people while everyone in power turned a blind eye.   

This is a story that speaks to those of us that have wept, for those of us that were lost, but also of some very brave individuals who fought to stop this decay on the same frontlines for people much like you and I who suffered as a result of senseless deaths that could have been avoided. 

Some of these brave individuals saw their own lives destroyed along the way, who felt up close and personally defeated by the very same government that was elected to uphold our laws of the land, to protect. 

In a country who tends to give accolades to the most powerful corporate and political leaders yet turned their backs on the very people they swore to protect in this nation all in the name of greed.  It’s heart-breaking and it’s real and has affected my own family, personally, as I have no doubt there are many of you out there that will read this and say the same. God, help us all.