The definitive investigation and exposé of how Big Pharma conspired to create the opioid crisis—from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters who first uncovered this secret, reckless and near-omnipotent drug cartel.

AMERICAN CARTEL is an unflinching and deeply documented dive into the culpability of the drug companies behind the staggering death toll of the opioid epidemic. It follows of a small band of DEA agents led by Joe Rannazzisi, a tough-talking New Yorker who had spent a storied 30 years bringing down bad guys, along with a band of lawyers led by West Virginia native Paul Farrell Jr. who fought to hold the drug industry to account in the face of the worst man-made drug epidemic in American history. It is the story of underdogs prevailing over corporate greed and political cowardice, persevering in the face of predicted failure, and how they found some semblance of justice for the families of the dead with the most complex civil litigation in American history.

The lawyers and investigators discovered hundreds of thousands of confidential corporate emails and memos during courtroom combat with legions of white-shoe law firms defending the opioid industry. One breathtaking disclosure after another—from emails that mocked addicts to invoices chronicling the rise of pill mills–showed the indifference of big business to the epidemic’s toll. Its narrative approach echoes work such as A Civil Action and The Insider, moving dramatically between corporate boardrooms, courthouses, lobbying firms, DEA field offices and Capitol Hill while capturing the human toll of the epidemic on America’s streets.

AMERICAN CARTEL is the story of those who were on the front lines of the fight to stop the human carnage. Along the way, they suffer a string of defeats, some of their careers destroyed by the very same government officials who swore to uphold the law, before they finally prevail over some of the most powerful corporate and political influences in the nation. 

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