Letter: Time to investigate Purdue Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis

Photo by Psiĥedelisto, via Wikipedia Commons
An OxyContin branded dose of oxycodone. The manufacturer of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, is coming under fire for its perceived role in the current opioid crisis in the united states. Several states are investing the role of the Sackler family – principal owners of Purdue Pharma – for their allegedly deceptive marketing techniques for the drug.

To the editor:

As many are aware, the opioid epidemic on Long Island is at an all-time high and has been on-going for many years. Purdue Pharma was accused of jumpstarting the opioid epidemic through their aggressive marketing techniques to promote the powerful painkiller and later misleading doctors and consumers about the dangers that comes with the drug. In 2007, the company pleaded guilty of felony charges for misleading doctors, yet the family who owns the company, the Sackler family, received little criticism for it.


In recent news articles, published by PageSix of the NY Post on May 20, 2019, it is reported that court filings have suggested generations of this family have played a part in the opioid epidemic. The late Raymond Sackler is suggested to have organized for patients to be placed on high doses of opioids while ignoring doctor’s protests.

His son, Richard Sackler, is accused of pointing a finger to the victims, with court documents stating he referred to them as “reckless criminals.” Allegedly Purdue Pharma was researching marketing products for treating opioid addiction but we have yet to see anything come of this. Now, Richard’s son and Raymond’s grandson, David Sackler, is fleeing the state with his wife, Ross Sackler, and children in tow to avoid this growing scandal.

This family is currently worth $13 billion and even has a wing named after them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They have had the luxury of being patrons of the arts, starting side businesses and living in beautiful apartments for years. Yet the families they have affected are being ripped apart as people are dying and children are being ripped from their families and placed in foster care. As far as I am concerned, that $13 billion is stained with the blood and tears of the families who have suffered in the opioid epidemic due to this ongoing criminal enterprise.

According to multiple news outlets, including CNN, at least the Vermont Attorney General and the Indiana Attorney General are suing the Sackler family alleging that the family oversaw the company’s deceptive and dishonest marketing techniques for the drug.

Due to this, I am calling upon the New York State Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of New York to launch an investigation into this family’s connection with the opioid epidemic and to potentially sue this family for their actions and press criminal charges. Until the conclusion of this investigation, I am also calling for the freezing of this family’s assets. Pending the outcome of the investigation, I would also ask the Metropolitan Museum of Art to remove the Sackler name from the wing in the museum as to not tarnish the museum’s reputation by being associated with this family and the opioid epidemic.

Assemblyman Michael Montesano

15th Assembly District