David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. Trent is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” Trent has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of “Why We Must Defend the Electoral College” and a contributor to "The Heritage Guide to the Constitution" and "One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty." His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. He previously served as Executive Vice President of the Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington, where he developed and directed the Foundation's constitutional studies and activism programs. Trent was also a Publius Fellow of the Claremont Institute, a candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives and a legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation. Trent holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and their three children.

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

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Not one single opioid-addicted person will get a dime, but private lawyers will get nearly $60 million from the settlement between Oklahoma and Purdue Pharma. Maybe the company is evil. Maybe the lawyers are not evil. But the law is not supposed to work this way.

Purdue manufactures and markets the opioid painkiller OxyContin. Like many other products, opioids can be beneficial but also dangerous. In the case of opioids, like many other medications, the federal government regulates them as a controlled substance. The drug is dispensed by pharmacists. Use of the drug requires a prescription from a physician. State governments license and regulate both professions.

The federal and state governments regulate pharmaceuticals and the medical professions to, among many other reasons, prevent drug abuse. Policymakers took the responsibility out of the hands of Purdue. They put some of that responsibility in the hands of pharmacists and physicians, and kept some for themselves. Yet when it all went wrong, government lawyers went after the manufacturer. Why? Simple: that's where the money is.

Consider the similarities between Purdue Pharma and companies that manufacture firearms. Both make legal products that can be abuse to cause harm. Both operate within a tangled web of government regulations, including restrictions on how their products can be sold. But the direct harm of a drug is limited to the person who takes it. Firearms, when abused, can cause much greater devastation. And no one is required, at least not yet, to get a doctor's note to buy a gun, which puts the manufacturer that much closer to the end user.

Of course, this does not mean that gun makers should be liable for the misuse of a legal product. But no one can have it both ways. The lawyers shaking down Purdue Pharma are setting a precedent that will inevitably used to shake down other companies. No doubt firearms manufacturers will be on that list.

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

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