Imprisonment: Doctor who illegally prescribed 500,000 doses of opioids to serve 40 years

Dr. Joel Smithers was recently sentenced to decades in prison for the numerous illegal prescriptions he gave out.

Image source: Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority/photofunny.net
  • According to law enforcement officials, every individual who visited Smithers' practice in Martinsville, Virginia, was given an opioid prescription.
  • Patients traveled hundreds of miles to visit his practice, where Smithers only accepted cash or credit cards and not insurance.
  • Smithers and similar doctors represent one part of the chain of responsible parties who contributed to the opioid epidemic.
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Photo credit: Roberto Machado Noa / LightRocket via Getty Images
  • The NGO China Tribunal accused China of killing persecuted minorities and harvesting thousands of organs from them.
  • They recently presented their findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
  • China has denied the large-scale harvesting of organs.
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Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, files for bankruptcy

Some critics say the move is designed to shield those who profited from the dangerous drug.

  • Purdue Pharma is facing thousands of lawsuits that allege the decades-old drug company misleadingly marketed the opioid OxyContin.
  • On Sunday, Purdue filed for bankruptcy after reaching a tentative settlement deal with some of the parties suing the company.
  • The deal, which some plaintiffs have already rejected, calls for a potential payout of up to $12 billion and for the company to restructure itself.
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The hackable technology that worries even a legendary con man

Before we release new technology into the ether, we need to make safeguards so that bad actors can't misuse them.

  • Right now cybercrime is basically a financial crime — it's a business of stealing people's money or stealing their data. Data has value.
  • We develop a lot of technology — we need to always ask the question how the new innovation can be misused and make safeguards so that it cannot be done.
  • Because we currently don't do these things, we have hackable vehicles, pacemakers, and laptops.
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Will robots free people from slavery?

Even if automation makes human trafficking economically inefficient, that alone won't end this unethical practice.

  • Robotic automation may one day make slavery economically inefficient, but automation does not spring forth fully formed.
  • An interim period of piecemeal coverage may leave many at-risk, low-skilled workers in danger of exploitation.
  • Nor can automation sate the political and social motives for slavery found in some societies.
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