“In addition to a police contingent, helmeted soldiers stood guard on the sidewalk outside the doors of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, holding automatic rifles and wearing camouflage.” NPR: Mexican Drug Kingpin ‘El Chapo’ Is Sentenced To Life Plus 30 Years In U.S. Prison.

+ “Just six companies distributed 75 percent of the pills during this period: McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS and Walmart, according to an analysis of the database by The Washington Post. Three companies manufactured 88 percent of the opioids: SpecGx, a subsidiary of Mallinckrodt; ¬≠Actavis Pharma; and Par Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals. Purdue Pharma, which the plaintiffs allege sparked the epidemic in the 1990s with its introduction of OxyContin, its version of oxycodone, was ranked fourth among manufacturers with about 3 percent of the market.” WaPo with some unbelievable stats from a recently released DEA database. “In case after case, the companies allowed the drugs to reach the streets of communities large and small, despite persistent red flags that those pills were being sold in apparent violation of federal law and diverted to the black market, according to the lawsuits.”

+ “A decline in prescriptions for opioid painkillers was the major factor for the overall drop in overdoses. Fatal overdoses involving other drugs, particularly the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl as well as methamphetamine, which has come roaring back over the last few years, continued to rise.” NYT Upshot: Drug Overdose Deaths Drop in U.S. for First Time Since 1990. (The number is still way higher than peak death years for guns, AIDS, or car accidents.)