Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) accused drug companies of operating a "criminal" business plan by disproportionately shipping millions of opioids into small West Virginia communities.
In an explosive 60 Minutes/Washington Post report, a former DEA official-turned-whistleblower accused Congress of weakening the agency's ability to combat distributors of prescription painkillers.
Manchin said opioid pills were being prescribed "like M&Ms" for years in his state, which has led to an epidemic of overdoses.
"This has been a business plan. ... My goodness, you've gotta be stuffing pills down people's throats - men, women and children. This is uncalled for. It's criminal," said Manchin.
The report highlighted the fact that 11 million doses oxycodone and hydrocodone were shipped to Mingo County, W.V. - which has a population of 25,000 - from 2007 to 2012.
Manchin highlighted one pharmacy in Kermit - population 392 - getting 9 million hydrocodone pills over two years.
Opioids killed more Americans in 2016 than the entire Vietnam War https://t.co/Sq8svyoDC2
— Tim Ryan (@AManInRecovery) October 18, 2017
After the report aired, President Trump's nominee for drug czar - Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) - withdrew from consideration. The report highlighted a law sponsored by Marino that weakened DEA enforcement.
Manchin said the bill, which passed via unanimous consent in the Senate, must be repealed, arguing many members of Congress did not fully understand the consequences.
Watch "The Five" discuss the situation above.