I think it ought to be obvious that in one year, “every man, woman, and child”didn't take 270 pain pills. That would be almost 3/4 of one pill for the year. Clearly, some people needed to take some regularly while the vast majority didn't. I can speculate: if someone has an acute pain crisis, surgery or an injury, say, they may take four pills a day for a couple of weeks, call it 60 pills. That reduces the 270 pills for the entire population to a smaller number. If the entire population took that one course of pain pills (they wouldn't have), you're down to 210 per person. The story offers no such details, nor does the DEA provide them.
Clay County doesn't have much in the way of population. According to the news story linked above, about 7800 people, and its one city of any size, Celina, has four pharmacies. The owner of one of those pharmacies, Tara Anderson, says, “I haven’t done anything I’m trying to hide.”
She says there's a need for pain medication in Clay County because of an aging workforce of manual laborers, who are now feeling the physical effects of their jobs.Sound familiar? Isn't this what Aesop at Raconteur Report wrote about opioids in Northern California last year? (Parts 1, 2, 3, Final)
Bouncing back to the original news report:
It's that high volume of opioids for such a small population that caught the attention of federal agents.Again, no information on exactly what the "high volume" is. Is this 2.0 standard deviations higher than other cities with similar populations? (I doubt it, but for illustration). Three standard deviations? Is it twice the normal amount? 10x? 20x? We simply have nothing to judge this with. With no contextual information, the whole story is based on a meaningless number.
Instead of going through drug store records, the DEA might be better off looking at the Census records. If the population is largely older manual laborers, as pharmacist Ms. Anderson says, it may be totally legit.
Short version of my conclusion: I think there's a deliberate attempt to conflate prescription opioid problems with illegal heroin overdose. We don't have a prescription drug problem, we have a "junkies shooting adulterated heroin problem". So why the public ruse? The old advise to "follow the money" leads me to the company that makes naloxone, the anti-narcotic drug administered to people in overdose. It was being pushed that virtually everyone should carry it everywhere as a lifesaver; it was even pushed on librarians to have it available for the library junkies who OD while watching internet porn in the library (do you have that where you live?). The price of naloxone had gone up 17x. Going down that rabbit hole led directly to Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
Going on a wider view, that led directly to the US government making deals with the Sinaloa drug cartel for purposes that aren't clear.