60 Minutes and The Washington Post follow up on joint investigation into the opioid epidemic

The inside story of how the DEA’s biggest opioid case ever was bargained away by government lawyers

Opioid epidemic follow up
Opioid epidemic follow up 01:21

The biggest case the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ever built against a drug company was settled far too leniently, say two DEA whistleblowers who made the case. A retired special agent and a DEA investigator appear in a follow-up to the impactful joint investigation on the opioid epidemic reported in October by 60 Minutes and The Washington Post. The inside story of the DEA's case against McKesson, the largest drug distributor in the U.S., by 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, producers Ira Rosen and Sam Hornblower, and The Washington Post's Investigative Reporters Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein, will appear Sunday, Dec. 17 in The Washington Post and on 60 Minutes at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. PT.

The 60 Minutes segment includes interviews with retired DEA Agent David Schiller, who led the team that made the case, and retired DEA Agent Helen Kaupang, who worked on it. They both are speaking for the first time.

60 Minutes and The Washington Post first reported in October how the DEA's efforts to crack down on the opioid epidemic were derailed as the number of opioid drug deaths increased.   In its wake, Rep. Tom Marino (R. PA) withdrew his name from consideration as America's drug czar. A number of Democrats and at least one Republican called for modification or outright repeal of the law Marino shepherded through Congress, which undercuts the DEA's ability to take action against the drug industry. The law and how it was passed was a central tenet of the first story in the joint investigation.   

Whitaker and Bernstein appeared today on CBS this Morning to talk about their latest findings.  Watch the 60 Minutes clip. Preview The Post's video and sign up to have the story delivered to your inbox:  wapo.st/DEA

Jeff Fager is the executive producer of 60 MINUTES and Martin Baron is the executive editor of The Washington Post.