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Fall of the House of Usher (2023): Imagined Retribution

Promo Image for Fall of the House of Usher with six people in a painting that has been painted over so each of them appears to have their throat slit.
Fall of the House of Usher Promo

The Fall of the House of Usher is a gory, vicious story that sees the end of a villainous family line, the Ushers. Gabe explains many of the Edgar Allan Poe references. They also unpack some of the lines in the show that criticizes the wealthy. Kat shares about the real Ushers, the Sackler family behind the Opioid Epidemic in America.

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Film Reviews:


Media from this week's episode:

The Fall of the House of Usher (2023)

Siblings Roderick and Madeline Usher have built a pharmaceutical company into an empire of wealth, privilege, and power; however, secrets come to light when the heirs to the Usher dynasty start dying.


The Fall of the House of Usher: A Love Letter to Poe &

a Scathing Review of the Rich

by gabe castro

RED: Quotes, someone else's words.


The Fall of the House of Usher is a gory, vicious story that sees the end of a villainous family line, the Ushers. Told as a story akin to a deathbed confession, much like the Poe story that inspired it, by Roderick Usher aged now as is his once-grand mansion now cloaked in shadows and secrets. In this story, he shares the chaotic, aggressive downfall of his family and what led to their demise. 

Through the series we meet the many Ushers and those who serve them, operating as satellites revolving around the magnetic hold of the affluent Ushers. Each of Roderick’s children, now grown and established Nepo Babies, meet an untimely, gruesome end. 

Against the backdrop of the decaying mansion, the series weaves a complex tapestry of psychological intrigue, Gothic horror, and supernatural suspense. As Roderick delves deeper into the secrets of his family's past, he uncovers a series of shocking revelations that threaten to consume him entirely. But as the House of Usher teeters on the brink of collapse, Roderick must confront the demons that haunt him and uncover the truth before it's too late. 

With its haunting atmosphere, richly drawn characters, and spine-tingling plot twists, Flanagan offers us another nail-biting series that explores the impact of insatiable greed by those in power on the world around them. And it offers us a gruesome justice, a bloody knife of consequence that the villains of the real world will never face. It’s cathartic and emotional and it left me badly wishing Verna was real. 

Tear Up the Planks, it is the Beating of his Hideous Heart!

Flanagan is back at it again with his fanboy fun, this time unpacking the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe. I enjoyed the references to Poe’s work in the show (though knowing the work did at times spoil the fate of the Usher) and it’s what had me truly hooked. But that’s not all this show has to offer, in true Flanagan fashion, he offers us a strong critique of the pharmaceutical industry and the rich elite that murders many for wealth. That’s a heavy topic and one that, I feel, he handled well in all its weight. As always, the lines delivered in the show are a punch to the gut, leaving us gasping for breath and begging for justice that will never come. BUT before I dive into those sad, beautiful and honestly terrifying moments, I wanted to geek out and share some of the Poe references found in the show. The show overall does an amazing job of representing the work of Poe who often criticized the wealthy, upper class villains of society. He also spoke of grief, loss, and the fragility of the human mind. Again, Flanagan truly understands his source material and the show felt true to the gothic, gory, and heartbreaking tone that Poe delivered in all his works. 

Let’s dive into those references! Firstly, the show is named for a short story by Poe of the same name which follows an unnamed narrator who is called upon by a childhood friend, the affluent Roderick Usher and his ailing sister Madeline. In the story, Roderick is sharing his life and how he arrived here, in a dilapidated version of his life now full of regret. In the show, Roderick spins a similar tale though far more gruesome and this time to an old acquaintance/enemy C. Augustine Dupin. Dupin is a character in Poe’s stories that predates Sherlock Holmes but in the same fashion relied on inductive reasoning to solve the crimes presented to him. 

Each of the Ushers is named for a character in Poe’s work, including even Roderick’s first wife, poor Annabel Lee. In their names or the title of their episode, you can infer the fates of the Ushers. First we have Prospero “Perry”, the youngest of the Ushers who fancies himself a club creator who has envisioned an experience for his attendees. The episode that sees his demise is The Masque of the Red Death, the same story his name comes from about Prince Prospero and the rich partying it up during a literal plague before the masque of red death joins the party and quickly kills (by way of plague) the isolated, rich celebrants. 

Episode 3, Murder in the Rue Morgue, finds Camille dead at the hands of a monkey. This story is much the same focused around Detective Dupin who solves the mystery of a locked room and two viciously murdered women. Spoilers: a chimpanzee did it. It’s actually a wild story and I highly recommend giving it a read. 

The Black Cat features Rahul Kohli, as Leo (Napoleon) Usher who is driven mad by the appearance of his partner's cat, leading to his death. Similar thing happens in the story, most people have read this one. Also features one of Poe’s favorite tortures of someone or something in the walls (or floorboards, people/things be in stuff for him). 

The Tell-Tale Heart is arguably the most well-known of Poe’s work so I’m sure you knew what was coming. It is one of the most heartbreaking episodes and again, T’Niah Miller plays tragedy so well. This time as Victorine, a scientist who murders her love in a fit of insanity. Her episode mirrors both Tell Tale and the story of her namesake, “The Premature Burial,” which I haven’t read it but found a helpful article on Screenrant, The Real Meaning Behind Every Usher Child’s Name to explain,  “In the Poe story "The Premature Burial," Victorine is accidentally buried alive by her lover, causing the narrator to also fear being buried alive.”

Goldbug, is about a man who becomes enthralled by a gold bug which Tamerlane uses for her company. Her name is from a poem, “Tamerlane,” about a ruler who sacrifices love for power, something we see Tamerlane do without hesitation to poor BILLT. 

Frederick Usher, the oldest and quite despicable child of Roderick is named for Poe’s first printed story, "Metzengerstein: A Tale in Imitation of the German." which I also haven’t read but here’s what Screenrant had to say, “In "Metzengerstein," Frederick exhibits cruel behavior due to his immense power at a young age. In the end, he dies in a fire after entering a burning castle. This is pretty similar to how Frederick dies in The Fall Of The House Of Usher: in the demolition of a building. However, Frederick's death is also inspired by Poe's story "The Pit and The Pendulum." of which the episode is named.

Lastly, Lenore the granddaughter of Roderick, who is so much unlike the rest of her family with some humanity and care still in her, not having been robbed of those features yet. She too meets a tragic end that leaves viewers much more heartbroken than the others who seemed far more deserving. Lenore is named for the lost love who’s death plagues the narrator in The Raven.

Just a few other nods I found interesting include (thank you to Entertainment’s article Explaining the Edgar Allan Poe references in The Fall of the House of Usher) “Igby Rigney (The Midnight Club) plays Toby, one of Camille's two assistants. In a particular scene in episode 2, his boss exclaims "Toby, damn it!" upon learning he hasn't discovered who the supposed leak in the family is. This is a reference to the lead character of 1841's "Never Bet the Devil Your Head," which centers on Toby Dammit, a man who loses his head after seemingly making a bet with the devil.”

And Mark Hamil’s Arthur Pym who’s name and fantastical story hints at the true identity of Verna as being this ominous unspeakable evil. In "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket,” Arthur Pym sails the sea on a whaling vessel abruptly ending at the South Pole, the journey includes cannibalism and otherworldly monsters including Verna who waved to him from the shoreline. 

One of the more recognizable references would be when Roderick and Madeline brick up their boss in the walls, a clear reference to the Cask of Amontillado. You read it in high school, I promise. That’s not all the references but all I have time for today. Go read some classic horror!

Death has Reared Himself a Throne

Kat mentioned while watching, “Do all rich people sell their souls to the Devil?” and in my opinion, they do. Their souls being their capacity for human decency, compassion and emotional intelligence. We’ve discussed many times on this show how it is impossible to be both a billionaire and a good person. Obviously there’s the villainous choices you make to obtain that wealth which is corrupting but we’ve also discussed how having excess wealth alters your brain chemistry (check out our American Psycho episode for more on that). So while Verna is not real and unable to exact revenge upon the ruling class (that’s our job), Verna is real in a more tragic sense, that these people (very few people, mind you, fewer than us anyway) have made a rather one-sided deal- the consequences of which they most likely won’t suffer in their lifetimes but instead will ripple out, affecting the rest of the world in irreparable ways. 

Verna in an impactful and harrowing scene asks Roderick to look out at the window as bodies rain from the sky. She says, “These are your bodies.” Though she’s worked with many villainous, rich people, Roderick has made a profound impact. She says, "I've worked with a lot of truly influential people over the years but when it comes to sheer body count, you're in my top five." This impact, Roderick is terribly aware of, admitting to Dupin in his confession that he was aware of the “pyramid of bodies” he’d be building on top of to reach that level of power.  

Some other moments that stuck with me and felt like the thesis of the film include a monologue from Verna where she says, “So much money. One of my favorite things about human beings. Starvation, poverty, disease, you could fix all that, just with money. And you don't. I mean, if you took just a little bit of time off the vanity voyages, pleasure cruising, billionaire space race, hell, you stopped making movies and TV for one year and you spent that money on what you really need, you could solve it all. With some to spare.” Which is just a big ouch and completely true. Homelessness, starvation, poverty, and disease are not unavoidable, impossible issues to address. We have the resources, technology, and ability to alleviate and solve each of these issues not only in our own country but worldwide. The only thing stopping us are those in power, hoarding wealth like a monstrous dragon upon a hoard. 

There’s a monologue in the end of the show by Madeline, as she fights against her fate and the analysis of her character that I think gets misinterpreted. She says, “We turn men into cum fountains and women into factories, cranking out... What? An impoverished workforce there for the labor and to spend what little they make consuming. And what do we teach them to want? Houses they can't afford, cars that poison the air, single-serve plastics, clothes made by starving children in third world countries. And they want it so bad that they're begging for it, they're screaming for it, they're insisting upon it... And we're the problem? These fucking monsters, these fucking consumers, these fucking mouths, they point at you and me like we're the problem — they fucking invented us. They begged for us. They're begging for us still.” 

On the surface, this can be interpreted as a critique on rampant consumerism, the fast-consumerism we subscribe to as a culture demanding more and faster. But remember that Madeline is the villain here. She is the rich 1% elite that has created the very system she’s blaming people for falling victim to. This is her way of justifying her deeds and to excuse her behavior but it in no way accomplishes that. Because of wealth inequality, (an inequality Madeline has contributed to, created a chasm) has conditioned us to seek joy in products that offer short moments of bliss because that's all we are afforded when so much of our time is dedicated to working to survive. Regular people are forced to live in the now, unable to plan or work towards a future. (see: savings accounts, Costco membership). Yes, we want more, we want it fast and cheap, because of all the currencies we are lacking in the most crucial is time. We are exhausted from laboring with the hoard of wealth we can never reach on our shoulders and the hours of our lives slipping through our hands. We are deserving of those little joys but we’re also deserving of the time and opportunity to invest in ourselves and to eventually, aspire for more efficient, safe, and healthy choices. Hell, to have choice at all. Because that’s the crux of it, the illusion of choicec. She’s saying, “They’re asking us for this,” instead of saying, “This is all we’ve given them.”

Lastly, I’ll discuss Roderick’s famous lemons speech in which he shares, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade? No. First you roll out a multi-media campaign to convince people lemons are incredibly scarce, which only works if you stockpile lemons, control the supply, then a media blitz. Lemon is the only way to say “I love you,” the must-have accessory for engagements or anniversaries. Roses are out, lemons are in. Billboards that say she won’t have sex with you unless you got lemons. You cut De Beers in on it. Limited edition lemon bracelets, yellow diamonds called lemon drops. You get Apple to call their new operating system OS-Lemón. A little accent over the “o.” You charge 40% more for organic lemons, 50% more for conflict-free lemons. You pack the Capitol with lemon lobbyists, you get a Kardashian to suck a lemon wedge in a leaked sex tape. Timotheé Chalamet wears lemon shoes at Cannes. Get a hashtag campaign. Something isn’t “cool” or “tight” or “awesome,” no, it’s “lemon.” “Did you see that movie? Did you see that concert? It was effing lemon.” Billie Eilish, “OMG, hashtag… lemon.” You get Dr. Oz to recommend four lemons a day and a lemon suppository supplement to get rid of toxins ‘cause there’s nothing scarier than toxins. Then you patent the seeds. You write a line of genetic code that makes the lemons look just a little more like tits… and you get a gene patent for the tit-lemon DNA sequence, you cross-pollinate… you get those seeds circulating in the wild, and then you sue the farmer for copyright infringement when that genetic code shows up on their land. Sit back, rake in the millions, and then, when you’re done, and you’ve sold your lem-pire for a few billion dollars, then, and only then, you make some fucking lemonade.“

I think it’s pretty obvious what’s being communicated here but given the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo where conflict minerals like tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold – all necessary minerals in the creation of our beloved technology, are being mined. In an article on CNBC titled, How conflict minerals make it into our phones, they explain the need for these minerals and why we should be concerned about the origin of our device’s materials. “The metals are integral to consumer electronics. In a smartphone, for example, tin is used to solder metal components together, while tantalum is used in capacitors, which store electrical energy. Tungsten is used in the components that make a phone vibrate, and gold is used in circuit board connectors.

In the past decade, African countries, intergovernmental organizations and companies have ramped up their efforts to clean up mineral supply chains. But consumers still can’t be sure if the minerals in their electronics are fully conflict-free, or if the mines where they originated are dangerous, environmentally destructive, or use child labor.” 

This is only one example of the very many that plague our world like a masque of red death, looming on the outside as a warning while we party away inside, isolated from the consequences of our actions. Which is why it is our duty to speak out against these atrocities, to be aware of our needs’ impact on the world and most importantly to hold the people responsible, responsible. We can’t hold our breath for the appearance of a vengeful Verna to exact the terms of their villainous deals with the devil. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” so we need to fight for our Congolese brothers and sisters, for our Palestine brothers and sisters, and our neighbors around us, housed and unhoused. What you should take away from this show is that we do have the power, we just need to remember that we are the many and we have a voice. Be the Verna you want to see in the world. (I’m not advocating murder but direct action gets the goods 😉). 


The Fall of the House of Sackler: The Real World Ushers

& the Opioid Crisis

by Kat Kushin

RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

The world of the House of Usher already exists. All the awful things we witnessed played out on screen are a very real reality for the world today. Everyone has heard of someone or personally knows someone addicted to pills, or drugs in general. So what I will be covering is two fold, the pushing of addictive opioids, and the withholding of life saving medicines behind obscene paywalls that the pharmaceutical companies are guilty of. What the government and these companies have for days is marketing budgets. 

From John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight series on Opioids, he covers how opioids have been pushed across the country. Specifically pointing out companies like Purdue, who in 1996 released the drug Oxycontin, with an aggressive and if this was a dystopian novel, comical marketing campaign to push this drug heavily to doctors. This included fun hats, swing music CD’s and cute plushies wearing Oxycontin t-shirts. Additionally and probably the most impactful were the testimonial videos from patients speaking on how the drug changed their lives. The first interview speaking about ever since starting Oxycontin usage, she had not missed a day of work (which capitalism LOVES), and then also included more meaningful impacts like being able to keep up with her grandkids. The videos were intentionally used to alleviate fears people may have had surrounding taking such a strong drug, and were used to dispel worry. The tragedy here is that the very people they pulled testimonials from became addicted to the medication. The Grandma in the video almost lost everything to that addiction, and 2 other participants died of that addiction. The only thing that saved the Grandma in the video was losing her health insurance so she could not get more Oxycontin even if she had wanted to. There is a cycle of damage here that is multifaceted. All of our basic human needs have a cost, so we need money to live, we need a job to get money, to maintain a job we need to be physically and mentally capable of work, if we are ill or in pain we lose work or could lose our jobs, we lose our jobs, we lose our ability to care for ourselves through housing, food, and medical insurance. There is no infrastructure to receive people who need help. To be disabled is a death sentence (in that disability is wildly underfunded, and widely difficult to qualify for), so many disabled people are forced to work without support, at threat of homelessness and death. To be homeless is a crime, with which you can be jailed, and forced to do labor for free. Knowing all of that, and then being told there is a medication that will make it so you no longer hear the signals from your body that prevent you from working…literally any human could become addicted to that, because in this system it is literally life saving until it is not. Because it doesn’t solve the cause of the pain, it is a bandaid. To capitalism this is the perfect solution because it requires the government to spend the least amount of money. The more people fall to the drug and wind up in jail, the more free labor these companies get. So ultimately this is super intentional and manipulative of these companies.

In additional videos marketing the drug in the 90s that less than 1% of patients become addicted to opioids. Which was misleading because the company was paying doctors to speak on addiction. Similar to what we see in the House of Usher, the company had doctors on their payroll, tasked with pushing the medication, and benefiting the company. They had this doctor, named Alan Spanos, coin a new phrase called Pseudo-addiction, basically outing the company for not accurately reporting the addiction rates. He said that Pseudo-addiction is when someone wants pain medication for relief, and not because they are addicted to drugs, which is as absurd as it sounds. The idea being that they are not addicted even though they are acting addicted, and actually just are doing so cause they need more Oxycontin. It also fails to acknowledge that all drug use is in response to a need of some kind. Whether it is to address pain, or trauma, or chemical imbalances. People use drugs and become addicted to drugs for a reason, and the issue with this really is that all the societal issues really worked together to create a perfect storm.

An additional flaw with this system is really with the medical industry as a whole. Doctors do not have the bandwidth to spend the amount of time they actually need to spend with patients to accurately and thoughtfully provide care. Insurance companies make life saving medications so expensive that patients can’t afford them, and doctors are discouraged by insurance companies from giving diagnosis because then they have to pay for treatment. In the year 2000 alone, doctors had prescribed Oxycontin to almost 6 million patients, as a quick fix for any and all pain they had mentioned. By 2007, after people clearly caught on to what was happening as millions of people were now addicted to Oxycontin and drugs like it, functioning as a gateway to other drugs. They were sued for $634 Million for blatantly lying to the American public about it’s addictiveness. Other companies like Cephalon paid an additional $444 Million for pushing similar drugs. Another company called Insys was investigated for pushing a drug that contained fentanyl, which was originally only approved to support patients fighting cancer. They did this by lying to insurance companies and saying patients had cancer that didn’t have cancer so that the drug would be approved for non-cancer patients. They did this with semantics, where the insurance company would ask a yes or no question, and would be responded to with an “uh huh” which is bonkers. Similarly when these lawsuits went through the records would be sealed from the public, and companies like Purdue would claim no wrongdoing with the payouts. 

The infrastructure to replace opioids also isn't in place. Where there are not alternatives available to opioid prescriptions, specifically speaking to rural areas that do not have facilities for physical therapy or other treatments, and if they do, they are not covered by insurance. Disgustingly, these companies are also marketing additional drugs to address side effects of opioids, like constipation, additionally profiting off of usage. 3 companies that helped get these drugs people-facing, to pharmacies etc. They are: Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. These companies are supposed to alert the FDA/government of high orders of addictive substances, but actively failed to do so. When called out of this, they paid hush money of 30 million dollars without claiming wrong doing. Without consequences, the company did even worse at reporting these orders. They paid an additional fine in 2017 for 150 million  which is nothing in comparison to their revenue for one year. I think he said it was less than one onethousanth. Just like the Ushers, there was always a price to be paid to avoid accountability. There was always a way out. 

The Sackler family that owns the company for Purdue (the company that started the opioid crisis, and probably much like the ushers). They would put their name on things like museums, but would hide their names from the Opioid crisis. The Sackler family was deeply involved in the opioid crisis, Richard Sackler being president of the Purdue company from 1999 to 2003, and served on the board with 7 other family members. Lawsuits indicated that Richard Sackler went with sales reps to doctors offices pushing the drug. When asked about the deaths as a result of the drugs, he said “it could have been worse”. Seemingly intentionally, almost like they have a Camille Usher on their team, this man has been pretty scrubbed from the internet, he has not done any interviews, and there are no videos of him. Sackler wrote that the blame was not on his company but on the people addicted to the medicine. Additionally concerning is everytime they paid settlements for lawsuits to absolve themselves of their crimes, they did so under the conditions that all evidence would be sealed and unavailable to the public. Sometimes even requiring the documents be destroyed. The Sackler family has also gone very out of their way to make sure the videos and pictures of them would not be released, so on the Last week Tonight show they had actors read the statements he made in court, which made them feel as gross as they actually were. You can watch them at Sackler Gallery But in recent years the deposition video has been released so you can watch Sackler on the stand saying “he doesn’t know” about the crimes of the company. I actually see the eldest Usher as similar to Richard Sackler. Another Sackler heir named David Sackler, would be similar to Camille Usher, in that he led the PR/Marketing to save the Sackler name. They published articles claiming their children were getting bullied because people were telling them their family’s work was killing people. He went on to create a website called: “Judge for Yourselves” that is dedicated entirely to proving the Sackler’s “innocence”. This website was pushed by David Sackler’s Wife, Joss Sackler. The goal being to argue for them being victims in this situation. 

Is there any good news?

In an article titled: Purdue Pharma family protected from lawsuits in exchange for addiction treatment funding, they confirmed that A court ruled the owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, will be protected from civil lawsuits linked to the opioid crisis in exchange for a $6 billion settlement.May 31, 2023. Additionally the Sackler family did not receive any felony convictions, only the company, meaning no one served any jail time. Additionally, the Sackler family was required to pay 6 billion of their 11 billion fortune. Meaning they still have 5 billion left. More enraging is, there will be no personal responsibility for the Sackler Family. In the PBS interview they continue that, “In total drug manufacturers, pharmacies and distributors have pledged around $54 billion to state, local and tribal governments for their respective role in the opioid epidemic… And then there — you talk about the governments that want to start addiction treatment programs or recovery housing. But, at the same time, the way this money is moving forward and actually getting out to people is by protecting the Sackler family from any personal responsibility.” The issue being that it is not guaranteed that the government parties will use this money how it is intended. They continue that

William Brangham: This is kind of what the concern was back in the '90s with the big tobacco settlement too, that we don't know — we think that money is going to go to tobacco prevention and smoking cessation, but not always.

Aneri Pattani: Yes, exactly. And most of that money didn't go to tobacco or anti-smoking programs at all. In fact, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which tracks it, says about 3 percent of the annual payout.

William Brangham: Three percent?

Aneri Pattani: Yes. The rest of it has gone to everything you can imagine, like filling state budget gaps, transportation, paving roads and filling potholes. In North Carolina and South Carolina, they actually used it to subsidize tobacco farmers.The one difference I will mention, though, is, the tobacco settlement didn't have any requirements for the money to be spent on it, so sort of assumed that because the money was coming because of the public health crisis caused by cigarettes that it would be used for that. But it wasn't actually a legal requirement. In the opioid settlements, it does have that requirement that 85 percent of the money be spent on opioid remediation. I think there's still a lot of questions about how that will be enforced and if that will really come true. But that clause was in there because people did not want to see a repeat.

What this situation has taught us is that generally when handed immense wealth and power, groups will not do the right thing unless individuals on the ground speak up to what they are seeing, as it’s happening. Thinking of the Military budget and how they spend billions on pain creams from Compounding Pharmacies that were proven to not work, or the budgets that have not been audited because there are billions of dollars unaccounted for. With policies like record sealing, and not releasing information to the public, these situations are absolutely repeatable unless individuals stand up and group together to say no. These things happened because of characters like the Usher family, like the real Sackler family who did things for their own benefit without thinking of the rest of the world. In an individualistic nation, where there is no collective, there is such division it’s very hard to expect people to stand up for what is right in the way that we need. 

BUT I will say we are seeing changes thanks for things like social media and the internet. Apps like tiktok that share information to the public that otherwise would have been successfully swept under the rug. That’s why things like the tiktok ban are so dangerous because they recognize that we see so much more than we used to. That they cannot oppress us in the same ways as they did before because we are talking to each other. We are sharing the information at a rate that is not able to be controlled and that scares the rich so much, that they want to take it away. 

The last thing I’ll say on the lawsuit as a whole is I think the timing is important. I think the fact that it was post 2020 is important, because they can only be supporting a subservient workforce if they have one. And 2020 onward we lost millions of people, and capitalism lost millions of workers. We also saw the rise of tiktok, and people actually having the time to pay attention to what was happening around them. I think these two things are why they got “caught”. The government can only look away from an addictive substance as long as it’s able to controlled for their benefit, but once they lost millions of their workforce to the pandemic, they had to care more about things that impacted people’s ability to work, The introduction of Fentanoyl is important here as well. An even stronger alternative to Oxycodone, was spreading like wildfire and killing and addicting even faster. Younger generations aren’t having kids at the rate they want, all of this combines together into a different kind of perfect storm where they need to give the illusion of punishment and hope that that appeases people.                


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