Observational research suggested that opioid prescribing was linked with increased disability and decreased productivity. And they did succeed in significantly shrinking the medical supply: since 2011, opioid prescribing has been cut by more than 60 percent. Indeed, even before the pandemic, more overdose deaths had occurred since prescribing began to fall than took place while medical opioid use was soaring. It’s not clear what the thinking was here: did policy makers believe that simply taking away drugs cures addiction? Of course, there are potential negative effects from many kinds of policies, and lawsuits really aren’t the best way to hold policy makers accountable.