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The Sackler Family’s Opioid Epidemic

The Sackler Family's Opioid Epidemic

Drug company Purdue Pharma has been at the center of countless lawsuits, paying $270 million in a recent Oklahoma settlement for a lawsuit that aimed to hold the company responsible for deceptive marketing of OxyContin.

The suit alleged that Purdue Pharma downplayed the addictive dangers of this powerful opioid, leading to the opioid epidemic. [1] Purdue’s reigning family, the Sackler family, is now at the center of more lawsuits alleging that the family personally fueled this nationwide epidemic.

The Sackler Family and the Opioid Epidemic

New York State’s attorney general has called the Sackler family the “masterminds” of the opioid epidemic. [2] Recent lawsuits show how much this family tried to use the epidemic to propel their company, Purdue Pharma. Emails and presentations are all outlined in the suits, showing that the family was far more responsible for their company’s operations than previously thought. And thus, their hand in this epidemic was greater than many realized. [3]

How OxyContin Paved the Way for Problems

In the 1990’s, Purdue began to aggressively market the painkiller OxyContin. At the time, the pharmaceutical industry worked to reshape the perception of pain and treatment for it. They described pain as an “epidemic” that affected 100 million Americans while chipping away at doctors who were reluctant to prescribe the drug. Bonuses, rewards, and targeting of new physicians who were inexperienced were all techniques allegedly used to push OxyContin. [3]

As addictions formed, users needed higher doses for the same effects. Without proper prescription pill addiction rehab, addicts are forced to go to other lengths to stave off withdrawals. This often includes using heroin or other opiates to take the place of pain pills.

Treating Addiction

These recent lawsuits show that the opioid situation will hopefully begin to improve. But for those living with an active addiction, professional treatment is needed to safely detox and recover. If you or someone you love is searching for opioid addiction treatment in Illinois, we invite you to call our team at Banyan Heartland.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn how we can help you overcome your addiction and find lasting sobriety.


  1. NPR – Purdue Pharma Agrees To $270 Million Opioid Settlement With Oklahoma
  2. NPR – New York Attorney General Targets Sackler Family
  3. New York Times – Lawsuits Lay Bare Sackler Family’s Role in Opioid Crisis

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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
The Sackler Family’s Opioid Epidemic
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