“From 1999 to 2010, the sale of prescription painkillers to pharmacies and doctors’ offices quadrupled. In the exact same time span, the number of overdose deaths from prescription painkillers also quadrupled, rising to almost 17,000.” It’s probably not a very unusual story of how a harmful drug got shoved from the drawing board all the way down your throat; and that’s precisely why it’s worth knowing how the American opiate epidemic was started by one pharmaceutical company.