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The Washington Post’s Pain Pill Database

The Washington Post, as part of its Opioid Files series, has published Drilling into the DEA’s pain pill database:

For the first time, a database maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration that tracks the path of every single pain pill sold in the United States — by manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies in every town and city — has been made public.

The Washington Post sifted through nearly 380 million transactions from 2006 through 2012 that are detailed in the DEA’s database and analyzed shipments of oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, which account for three-quarters of the total opioid pill shipments to pharmacies. The Post is making this data available at the county and state levels in order to help the public understand the impact of years of prescription pill shipments on their communities.

The Post’s analysis of the data found that

America’s largest drug companies distributed 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills across the country between 2006 and 2012 as the nation’s deadliest drug epidemic spun out of control. Just six companies distributed 75 percent of the pills during this period.

The volume of the pills handled by the companies climbed as the epidemic surged, increasing 51 percent from 8.4 billion in 2006 to 12.6 billion in 2012. The states that received the highest concentrations of pills per person per year were: West Virginia, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Opioid death rates soared in the communities that were flooded with pain pills. The national death rate from opioids was 4.6 deaths per 100,000 residents. But the counties that had the most pills distributed per person experienced more than three times that rate on average.

Data for Wisconsin and the counties near Whitewater appear below.

For Wisconsin:

• From 2006 to 2012 there were 1,283,958,368 prescription pain pills supplied to Wisconsin.

481,504,550 of the pills were distributed by Walgreen Co and 531,979,146 were manufactured by SpecGx LLC.

OMNICARE OF MILWAUKEE, MILWAUKEE pharmacy received the highest number of pills.

For Walworth County:

• From 2006 to 2012 there were 22,051,370 prescription pain pills, enough for 31 pills per person per year, supplied to Walworth County, Wis.

8,505,200 of the pills were distributed by Walgreen Co and 9,762,700were manufactured by SpecGx LLC.

WALGREEN CO., LAKE GENEVA pharmacy received the highest number of pills.

For Jefferson County:

• From 2006 to 2012 there were 15,780,270 prescription pain pills, enough for 27 pills per person per year, supplied to Jefferson County, Wis.

5,484,800 of the pills were distributed by Walgreen Co and 7,415,500were manufactured by SpecGx LLC.

WALGREEN CO., WATERTOWN pharmacy received the highest number of pills.

For Rock County:

• From 2006 to 2012 there were 45,359,941 prescription pain pills, enough for 40 pills per person per year, supplied to Rock County, Wis.

18,185,570 of the pillswere distributed by McKesson Corporation and 20,585,300 were manufactured by SpecGx LLC.

WALGREEN CO., JANESVILLE pharmacy received the highest number of pills.

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