Last Sunday, CBS ran a piece on the Sackler family and their profiteering from opioid production and deceitful marketing. Their company, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for their role in creating our nation’s opioid crisis which has killed half a million people in the last 20 years. As their name was removed from countless buildings around the world, there was another death.
This young man, the son of a very, close friend, was given a street Percocet laced with Fentanyl. It stopped his heart. Now before you criticize him, pause a moment to reflect on your own teenage years. Do you ever count yourself lucky for getting away with things that might well have killed you back in the day? I do. He was 19, returning to college this fall, had a part time job at Home Depot and was teaching tennis lessons to kids.
Our nation’s drug crisis is not trivial. It is endemic and so deeply woven into the fabric of our communities that not one of us are immune to its’ peril and all of us have been touched, even tangentially. This child is not just my friend’s son. He is our child and we have lost him forever.
We can do better. So, while this mother grieves for what was and now will never be, we must see ALL children as our OWN. You can make a difference in your community. Who knows, you might even give a kid a second chance to grow up.
- Encourage the use and distribution of Narcan, which can save someone from an overdose. It should be available and affordable to anyone that might need it. At present, it’s only legal in 8 states and astronomically expensive .
- Ask the courts to assign ‘help’ time not ‘jail’ time for our addicts and ‘REAL’ time for the dealers.
- Insist that lawmakers tighten controls on prescription writing so that pills don’t keep falling into the hands of our children.
- Instead of penalizing drug companies AFTER the fact, hold them accountable NOW in both their product and marketing!!
Ironically, the Sacklers lost a son of their own. He was an addict and committed suicide in the 70’s. They never mention him.