Greg interviews Lenny Bernstein, a journalist at The Washington Post. Recently, Lenny’s team spent a year investigating the rising death rate of rural white Americans. He elaborates on an article published in October 2016. “My editor asked me to explain how there could be millions of pills on the street if the DEA and the pharmaceutical companies were doing their jobs?” says Lenny. “I found that nobody had really looked at the distributors, the folks who get [the drugs] from the manufacturers and give them to the dispensers.”

As Lenny’s team furthered their investigation, they found some startling evidence for why many rural Americans were falling to diseases of despair—alcoholism, suicide and drug overdose. His team discovered that some distribution companies were giving rural pharmacies much more pills than they could possibly sell or store. Lenny explains how these companies should have known that something was amiss. “As we dug into these cases, we found that the DEA, their own employees, state boards and pharmacies had warned them,” says Lenny. “It was very obvious that [the companies] had to know, because these emails were going up to their headquarters.”

Listen to the podcast to hear Lenny explain what the DEA did about the distribution companies and why the epidemic continues today.