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The Real Victims


I’m not sure it’s scientifically possible to build a violin small enough to accompany this story:

Jacqueline Sackler was fed up. HBO’s John Oliver would soon use his TV show to pillory her family, the clan that owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. In a nearly 15-minute Sunday-night segment, he joined a long line of people who blamed the Sacklers in part for the nation’s opioid crisis.

Before the show aired, Ms. Sackler, who is married to a son of a company co-founder, emailed her in-laws, lawyers and advisers. “This situation is destroying our work, our friendships, our reputation and our ability to function in society,” she wrote.

“And worse, it dooms my children. How is my son supposed to apply to high school in September?”

The Sackler family, with its competing branches, has long been fractious. The arrival of nearly 2,000 lawsuits accusing its company of helping to spark a public-health crisis in America has forced the family to a crossroads as it weighs the future of a company that helped make its members wealthy.

For years the Sacklers avoided being publicly linked to the opioid crisis and OxyContin, a prescription painkiller containing a morphine derivative called oxycodone. They cultivated an image as global philanthropists, donating millions to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University and scores of other institutions both in the U.S. and abroad.

“Attend a public high school? We are not communists!”

Nobody who has fatally overdosed because of the wave of powerful synthetic opiods that started with Oxycontin could be reached for comment.

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