Since 1999 we’ve lost more than 700,000 Americans to fatal overdose from opioids (1). But how did we get here?
Ever heard of Richard, Jonathan, Kathe or Ilene Sackler? They are the family behind Perdue Pharmaceuticals. Still not ringing a bell? How about this:
Purdue Pharma is the maker of the highly addictive opioid pain medication, OxyContin. The Sackler’s knew that this drug was dangerous but aggressively marketed it as safe and bribed doctors with lavish gifts to get them to prescribe more (2). Between 1996 and 2003 Purdue Pharma raked in $1.6 billion dollars annually off the aggressive sale of OxyContin (3).
Recent lawsuits filed against Purdue Pharma uncovered another plan hatched by the Sackler family in 2014 to profit off of the overdose/opioid crisis – Project Tango. This plan made it explicitly clear that opioid painkillers and addiction are “naturally linked” and encouraged the Sackler family to expand their business to include addiction treatments in order to increase their profits (4).
But good news, New Jersey is on it. In May, Attorney General Grewal filed a lawsuit against 8 members of the Sackler family, claiming that they became “unimaginably rich” by deceptively marketing Oxycontin as rarely addictive, bribing doctors to prescribe the drug and contributing to the overdose crisis we face today (5).
Sign our petition to tell NJ’s AG Grewal that when we win settlement funding, we need to ensure that funding goes directly to expanding access to evidence-based treatment for people struggling with substance use disorder – especially people on Medicaid, Medicare and without insurance.
(2) “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America”, by Beth Macey, 8/7/2018