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


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

You can watch Sam Seder's interview with Tom Rodgers here:

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