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How Addiction in America Exploded

The New Yorker has published a fascinating, in-depth article on how the Sackler family (owners of Perdue Pharmaceutical) made billions of dollars selling Oxycontin throughout America.

While effective pain management was, and is, a very important medical consideration, scores of people were introduced to a drug that was heralded as relatively “safe”, but which opened the door to a devastating opioid epidemic that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

The piece was written by Patrick Keefe and it provides a riveting, historical overview of how the Sackler family used unique marketing strategies to get Oxycontin out to as many U.S. physicians as possible. Their marketing was said to aggressively promote Oxycontin as the ultimate pain management medication with a superior safety profile.

In retrospect, this unprecedented “push” of Oxycontin facilitated a massive trend of over-prescribing that is now considered by many to be the single greatest catalyst in America’s out-of-control opioid addiction.

Particularly troubling is the assertion that Perdue Pharma representatives deliberately misrepresented Oxycontin’s abuse and addiction potential, thus providing a false sense of confidence to physicians that their patients were at minimal risk of danger.

The article is lengthy, but well-written and highly informative. Patrick Keefe has provided an incredible view into the inner workings of Oxycontin’s birth and infiltration of U.S. culture.

 

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