Of all the problems besetting the health status of the U.S. population, the raging opioid epidemic might be the most maddening. In many ways, it’s a self-inflicted wound. A lot of people have a legitimate need for pharmacological relief from physical pain. But how did we get from, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning” to 259 million opioid prescriptions—more than enough to give every American adult his or her own supply? The answer is that greedy drug companies, harried doctors, opportunistic street operators and, yes, intemperate patients have all played a part.