Her phone rang. On the other end, it was Prof. Jennifer Gooden, her long-time collaborator from Stanford. Sounded melancholic, Prof. Gooden intimated that previous night she had lost her only son Max to an overdose of a street drug. A brilliant student throughout his academic carrier, Max, after graduation, joined the lucrative financial world of Wall Street. With fame and fortune, also came to Max’s life, long hours of working as well as the stress of meeting the profit margins. And that’s when Max found the dark side of his profession in late-night parties with alcohols and drugs. Prof. Jacobs consoled Prof. Gooden, though she knew words were meaningless to a grieving mother who had lost her only child to an overdose. Prof. Jacobs promised Prof. Gooden that she would fly to California to attend the funeral.
Prof. Jacobs hung up the phone with a heavy heart. She glanced at her medal again. Suddenly, her old fear resurfaced. A monumental “drug crisis” had taken over the country. Citizens from all levels of social statures had been getting addicted to these readily available street drugs. With knowledge widely available from social media, a few entrepreneurs found a few rogue scientists to tweak the old medicines into these street drugs in clandestine facilities. Even some big-name companies entered the playfield. Due to globalization as well as availability of cheap labor, batches made overseas had been showing up on the streets of western hemisphere. Due to their poor quality, many of the sold samples were getting contaminated with impurities with deadly consequences. In fact, the local authority of her own city traced in a street sample a compound, being used to tranquilize the big animals in South-East Asia.
Prof. Jacobs began to ponder “How could a scientist measure the welfare to harm ratio to the society from a discovery beforehand?” On her computer screen, a headline flashed “Without acknowledging its direct role in the drug-crisis, WellCare, a leader in addictive pain medicine, paid a fine of millions of dollars to the federal authority. Additionally, the deal also kept its founders, world-renowned billionaire philanthropists, out of jail for the rest of their lives.”