OPIOID CRISIS






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Sackler Hall of Shame

Their lives cannot repay us-their death could not undo-
The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,
Shall we leave it unabated in its place?

- BY RUDYARD KIPLING


First Nations gather for opioid healing conference to discuss crisis

Indigenous people from across Canada gathered on the Tsuut'ina First Nation Monday for a conference to discuss the ongoing opioid crisis.

The conference - titled Opioid: Wiping the tears and healing the pain - focuses on finding and crafting solutions to help First Nation communities address addiction and social issues that stem from it.

One attendee, Patrice Crate of Enoch Cree Nation, is a mental health advocate. She says opioids have touched every facet of her and her family's lives.

She became seriously ill after an ectopic pregnancy, and had multiple surgeries because she wasn't able to conceive.

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CBC News - Posted: May 07, 2019


The Giants at the Heart of the Opioid Crisis

There are the Sacklers, the family that controls Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. There are the doctors who ran pill mills, and the rogue pharmacists who churned out opioid orders by the thousands.

But the daunting financial muscle that has driven the spread of prescription opioids in the United States comes from the distributors - companies that act as middlemen, trucking medications of all kinds from vast warehouses to hospitals, clinics and drugstores.

The industry's giants, Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, are all among the 15 largest American companies by revenue. Together, they distribute more than 90 percent of the nation's drug and medical supplies.

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By Danny Hakim, William K. Rashbaum and Roni Caryn Rabin. April 22, 2019. The New York Times


The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs published the resolution it passed endorsing the Opioids conference (Resolution 2019-13).

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  • Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs demanding province take action on opioid crisis

    Dominika Lirette - CBC News - Posted: Mar 12, 2019

    The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is calling on the provincial government to take action on the opioid crisis, which is devastating First Nations communities.

    It says the current situation is a state of emergency and it's asking the province to acknowledge its unique impact on First Nations communities.

    "It's not stopping for any of our communities, and we really need drastic action on this issue," said Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

    In 2017, a report by the First Nations Health Authority and B.C. Coroners Service found that status First Nations people were five times more likely to experience an overdose and three times more likely to die from one.

  • In Indigenous call for action, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip reveals his son is among those lost to B.C.'s overdose crisis

    by Travis Lupick on March 11th. Straight Talk

    Like so many British Columbians, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has a personal connection to the province's overdose epidemic.

    "In fact I lost my 42 year old son, Kenny, to a carfentanyl overdose last August," the long-time president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) revealed in a media release this morning (March 11).

    Carfentanil (sometimes spelled as carfentanyl) is a synthetic opioid similar to fentanyl but significantly stronger. It first appeared in Vancouver's illicit-drug supply in the winter of 2016 and, since then, has been associated with a growing number of deaths.

  • Putting Trudeau On Notice, Union of BC Indian Chiefs Declares Opioid Crisis "A State of Emergency" And Supports First Nations Conference to Address The Epidemic

    BY NATIVE NEWS ONLINE STAFF / 08 MAR 2019

    The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has passed a forceful resolution imploring action by embattled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Columbia Premier John Horgan on the escalating Opioids crisis that is devastating First Nations communities. Declaring the Opioid Overdose Crisis to be a state of emergency, the UBCIC Chiefs Council resolution calls on the provincial government to launch a public inquiry into the influence of international organized crime syndicates in fueling the Opioid death-toll in the Native community.

    Investigative reports by the CBC, Global News, and CTV into direct connections between the Opioid crisis and organized crime, money laundering, and the inflated real estate market in the province led the UBCIC to conclude that a public inquiry into those links "is the best way to learn the truth about a crisis that has claimed thousands of lives." The resolution documents a Global News investigation that revealed, "criminal syndicates that control chemical factories in China are shipping narcotics, including fentanyl, to Vancouver, and are responsible for laundering the drug sales in British Columbia's casinos and high-priced real estate, and transferring laundered funds back to Chinese factories to repeat this deadly trade cycle. Regulators believe approximately $1.7 billion from 2013 to 2017 has flowed through special B.C. Lottery Corp. high-roller accounts, with large amounts funded by loan sharks and criminal bank drafts."

  • UBCIC Recognizes Opioid Crisis as "A State of Emergency"

    Press Release, from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

  • UBCIC Recognizes Opioid Crisis as "A State of Emergency"

Purdue's Sackler embraced plan to conceal OxyContin's strength from doctors, sealed deposition shows

In May 1997, the year after Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin, its head of sales and marketing sought input on a key decision from Dr. Richard Sackler, a member of the billionaire family that founded and controls the company. Michael Friedman told Sackler that he didn't want to correct the false impression among doctors that OxyContin was weaker than morphine, because the myth was boosting prescriptions - and sales.

"It would be extremely dangerous at this early stage in the life of the product," Friedman wrote to Sackler, "to make physicians think the drug is stronger or equal to morphine. … We are well aware of the view held by many physicians that oxycodone [the active ingredient in OxyContin] is weaker than morphine. I do not plan to do anything about that."

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By DAVID ARMSTRONG - PROPUBLICA FEBRUARY 21, 2019


Sackler family, known for ties to prestigious institutions, stays quiet on opioid crisis accusations

The Sackler family name is attached to universities and prestigious institutions around the world, from New York City to London to Beijing, but what you don't often find the name publicly tied to is the pharmaceutical company the family built – Purdue Pharma – and the deadly opioid crisis, which some family members are now accused of creating.

It's an epidemic we've covered from just about every side – from overdoses and recovery to the Drug Enforcement Administration trying to control abuse or a former Purdue pharmaceutical sales rep who fears she may have added to the problem.

But now the attorney general of Massachusetts has shifted attention to something new, alleging eight members of the Sackler family "caused much of the opioid epidemic" by controlling a "deceptive sales campaign" for their blockbuster drug OxyContin. The company calls it a "rush to vilify," claiming the attorney general "cherry-picked" from among millions of documents. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday in Boston. But none of the family members named in the lawsuit have commented, reports CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil.

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CBS News. January 25, 2019


McKinsey Advised Purdue Pharma How to 'Turbocharge' Opioid Sales, Lawsuit Says

The world's most prestigious management-consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, has been drawn into a national reckoning over who bears responsibility for the opioid crisis that has devastated families and communities across America.

In legal papers released in unredacted form on Thursday, the Massachusetts attorney general said McKinsey had helped the maker of OxyContin fan the flames of the opioid epidemic. McKinsey's consultants, the attorney general revealed, had instructed the drug company, Purdue Pharma, on how to "turbocharge" sales of OxyContin, how to counter efforts by drug enforcement agents to reduce opioid use, and were part of a team that looked at how "to counter the emotional messages from mothers with teenagers that overdosed" on the drug.

The McKinsey disclosures are part of a lawsuit Massachusetts filed against Purdue Pharma, accusing the company of misleading doctors and patients about the safety of opioid use. Even when the company knew patients were addicted and dying, it still tried to boost sales of opioids, the lawsuit alleges, adding, "All the while, Purdue peddled falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives."

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The New York Times. By Michael Forsythe and Walt Bogdanich. Feb. 1, 2019


Nan Goldin's Activist Group Escalates Its War Against the Sacklers With an Open Call to Action at the Met

The artist's direct-action group has made a public appeal for anyone to join them at a protest at the museum tomorrow, February 9.

Nan Goldin and the opioid-crisis activist group she founded, Sackler P.A.I.N., are planning a large-scale protest outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York tomorrow, February 9 at 7.p.m.-and they have called on the public to join in.

In an escalation of their campaign against museums that have benefited from the Sacklers' philanthropy, the group now wants everyone to join Saturday's demonstration.

The activist-artist appealed for New Yorkers to join the protest via her Instagram account today.

"We've been knocking on their doors for a year and not a single museum has denounced the Sacklers, taken down their name, or publicly refused their funding," Goldin said in her Instagram post. "Time's up."

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artnet.com by Kate Brown, February 8, 2019


The Sackler family is known for its philanthropy. But it's now facing legal pressures for its ties to OxyContin.

The legal pressure on the prominent family behind the company that makes OxyContin, the prescription painkiller that helped fuel the nation's opioid epidemic, is likely to get more intense.

The Sackler family came under heavy scrutiny this week when a legal filing in a Massachusetts case gave detailed allegations that they and company executives sought to push prescriptions of the drug and downplay its risks. Those revelations are likely to be a preview of the claims in a series of expanding legal challenges.

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Boston.com. JBy GEOFF MULVIHILL AP, updated on January 18, 2019


Massachusetts Attorney General Implicates Family Behind Purdue Pharma In Opioid Deaths

The Sackler family behind Purdue Pharma knew that its painkiller OxyContin was causing overdoses, yet continued to cash in as deaths mounted, the Massachusetts attorney general alleges in court documents filed Tuesday.

In a new 274-page memorandum, Attorney General Maura Healey details a chain of command that she alleges implicates eight Sackler family members, as well as nine Purdue board members or executives, in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

An earlier version of the memo, filed on Dec. 21, was more than half redacted, after Purdue Pharma argued to withhold information about the Sacklers, one of the richest families in the United States. Some sections remain blacked out in Tuesday's filing.

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NPR. January 16, 20196:27 AM ET


Big Pharma is Killing Native Americans with Opioids, Tribes are Fighting Back

Despite widespread awareness and public health campaigns, the opioid epidemic in this country has reached alarming levels. Due in large part to opioid overdoses, the overall life expectancy in the US fell for the first time since 1993.

The problem has affected every part of the country, with minority communities, like Native American Tribes seeing the worst of the crisis. Because of the widespread nature of the epidemic, governments and tribes are spending exorbitant amounts of money to treat addiction and overdose.

Appearing on Ring of Fire Radio, Tom Rodgers, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe and activist and advocate for Native Americans and tribal issues, says that the problem is compounded by a lack of access to affordable health care:

"Medicaid is a huge poverty eliminator. With the proposed reduction in Medicaid across the country, and therefore the collateral impact on the ability to have drug prevention centers, best practices, research, it's going to have a cascading effect. At the time when we need, our society and Indian country needs more than ever best practices, drug abuse centers, any way to alleviate poverty and provide an environment of hope, we are doing the direct opposite of what should be done. We're cutting back on Medicaid, which services the poor."

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June 23, 2017

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