I really like your irreverant and tell it like it is writing style. It's rare on this board but also refreshing and amusing, to the extent that humor creeps in on a board like this one and on a topic like this.
I have the perspective that the few bad apples spoil it for the many and governments tend to have knee jerk reactions to media exposes on abuses within any industry. There was a very impactful 60 Minutes report a couple of years ago on the opiate additiction epidemic and how and why it got out of hand. 60 Minutes's report focused on how the big pharmaceutical companies with their not so clandestine chemists and the State of Florida, which non-regulates, and more specifically Delray Beach, Florida, became a haven for pain management clinics whose businesses consisted of giving out opiates like so much candy. In Delray Beach, there were dozens of such facilities lining the main street in the city by 2010 or so- more prevalent than pizza shops and ice cream parlors. All it took was a few well publicized overdose deaths, some lawsuits and complaints from the families and then first the DEA, and then the media (60 Minutes) were all over it. Doctors were sent to prison with long jail terms. I recall one of the jailed Doctors gave an interview to Ed Bradley but walked out during the interview when Bradley went after him a bit, unable to answer or handle the tough questions.
As a personal injury attorney who represents both injured individuals and the insured persons and business entities causing those injuries, my job frequently intersects with many of these issues- pain medication addiction, specifically. I have had some clients who had legitimate work related injuries, developed pain issues from their chronic injuries, went to pain management clinics for treatment, and became addicts. Personally, I think it's hard for people when they are out of work due to an injury or illness, and opiate and alcohol addiction can develop in these situations very quickly when a person is getting a stream of medicine for legitimate or perhaps semi-legitimate injuries.
One of my high school classmates, a Medical Doctor/internist, is now in federal prison because one of his patients died of an overdose of opiate meds he was prescribing her. From what I read in news reports, she drove over 180 miles to see him (red flag number 1- how many people here drive 180 miles to see your primary care doctor???) and the local pharmacist called him to warn him she was an addict and that he should not be prescribing her opiate meds (red flag number 2). She OD'd, died, the family raised hell with the State licensing authority, then the DEA got involved and investigated and found he prescribed the 7th most opiates of anyone in the State of CT- and he was just an internist. They also found out that he was billing Medicare for patients he never treated, and that kind of sealed his fate.
We tend as a society to overreact to these really bad abusive situations when they are exposed in the media. As you aptly stated, it's a game of Whack-A-Mole, where the "victimized" family members of the deceased, their attorneys and politicians all promote knee jerk legislation, bills and regulation, which is really just to provide them with appeasement and gain political capital for those in power. However, these actions are like applying a salve that is temporary and mostly ineffective at solving the problem and do not address the long term issue or its consequences. Legislation and regulation drive up costs, and it also leads to the junkies turning back to the streets for sustenance, where it's a total buyer beware situation with fentanyl being mixed in with heroin (and probably also with imodium in unknown quantities), making the smallest dosages potentially fatal in someone who hasn't built up a tolerance, as rock star Prince found out. There is probably some street imodium being sold at or below the prices you mentioned, but the stuff from China is probably safer.