Meet the Billionaire Family Who Sparked America’s Opioid Crisis

(ZHE)  Unbeknownst to many, the Sackler Family, with assets of $13 billion, the nation’s 19th wealthiest family is one the top players in philanthropy. You can find the Sackler Gallery in the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C. or visit the Sackler wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Sackler’s even have a museum at Harvard, Guggenheim, and dozen of universities around the country. If it’s art— the Sackler family has it.

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Participating in the art game takes money and a lot of it. So, where does the Sackler money come from?

According to Forbes, the “Sacklers continue to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from the businesses in 2016 – some $700 million last year, by Forbes’ calculations – from an estimated $3 billion in Purdue Pharma revenues plus at least $1.5 billion in sales from their foreign companies.”

Forbes outlines a brief history lesson of how the Sackler family got started in the world of medicine:

The family fortune began in 1952 when three doctors — Arthur (d. 1987), Mortimer (d. 2010) and Raymond Sackler — purchased Purdue, then a small and struggling New York drug manufacturer. The company spent decades selling products like earwax remover and laxatives before moving into pain medications by the late 1980s. To create OxyContin, Purdue married oxycodone, a generic painkiller, with a time-release mechanism to combat abuse by spreading the drug’s effects over a half-day.

The FDA approved the medication in 1995 and it soon took off. By 2003 OxyContin sales hit $1.6 billion as the drug helped drive a huge nationwide spike in opioid prescribing. At its peak in 2012, doctors wrote more than 282 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers, including OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet  — nearly enough for every American to have a bottle.

Now opioid prescriptions are declining amid increased scrutiny over drug addiction, down 12% since 2012 according to data from healthcare information firm IMS Health. OxyContin (which is also beginning to face competition from authorized generics while fighting to protect its patents over tamper-proof, extended-release oxycodone) saw prescriptions fall 17%.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s, as explained by Forbes, the Sackler family through their family-owned drug company called Purdue Pharma created OxyContin. Then in 1995, the FDA approved the medication and sales exploded. Sales hit $1.6 billion in 2003, as a nationwide spike in opioids was seen. By the peak in 2012, doctors wrote more than 282 million prescription for opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. Good times for the Sacklers from 1996- 2012, as the family drug business exploded.

According to The New YorkerOxycontin ”has reportedly generated some thirty-five billion dollars in revenue for Purdue” since 1995. OxyContin’s sole active ingredient is oxycodone, a chemical cousin of heroin, which makes it highly addictive.

The New Yorker further says Purdue used marketing techniques to deceive the American public of the drug’s true addictive characteristics.

Purdue launched OxyContin with a marketing campaign that attempted to counter this attitude and change the prescribing habits of doctors. The company funded research and paid doctors to make the case that concerns about opioid addiction were overblown, and that OxyContin could safely treat an ever-wider range of maladies. Sales representatives marketed OxyContin as a product “to start with and to stay with.” Millions of patients found the drug to be a vital salve for excruciating pain. But many others grew so hooked on it that, between doses, they experienced debilitating withdrawal.

Oddly enough, around the time OxyContin was approved, prescription opioid deaths across the United States surged. Fast forward to more relevant times, where heroin and fentanyl deaths are exploding.

Diving into the opioid crisis onto the streets of Baltimore. It’s very common to see local citizens shooting up heroin on city streets. In this video, I asked a man how did this addiction start? Guess what he said?… It all started with legal painkillers, such as OxyContin. 

As a few parasitical elites make billions flooding America’s streets with opioids. We the every day American citizen have to deal with the consequences, as President Trump outlined in yesterday’s opioid crisis speech:

  • In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids.
  • Since 2000, over 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.
  • Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, outnumbering both traffic crashes and gun-related deaths.
  • In 2015, there were 52,404 drug overdose deaths — 33,091 of those deaths, almost two-thirds, involved the use of opioids.
  • The situation has only gotten worse, with drug overdose deaths in 2016 expected to exceed 64,000.
  • This represents a rate of 175 deaths a day.

Bottomline: It’s time for the American people to learn the truth about the opioid crisis and the very few elites who have profited. The question you should ask: why did our government allow this to happen?

By Tyler Durden / Republished with permission / Zero Hedge / Report a typo

This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.

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