AG releases Purdue Pharma emails


The state Attorney General says Purdue Pharma blames the opioid crisis on the victims.

William Tong recently filed an amended complaint against Purdue Pharma – the makers of OxyContin, the Sackler family, and other executives of the Stamford based company.

He now says that complaint is un-redacted.

In his Hartford office, Tong released excerpts from emails he says shows Purdue’s former director Richard Sackler showed depraved indifference to opioid addiction.

In the first one, an unnamed acquaintance of Richard Sackler said, “Abusers die, well that is the choice they made, I doubt a single one didn’t know of the risks.” Sackler responds: “Abusers aren’t victims; they are the victimizers.”

Related: Emails: Purdue executive cast blame on opioid victims

In another 2001 email, the acquaintance writes, in part, “Blame the manufactures (sic), Drs., pharmacist, but never, never the criminal… if people die because they abuse it then good riddance.” 
Richard Sackler responds: “Calling drug addicts ‘scum of the earth’ will guarantee that I become the poster child for liberals who just want (sic) to distribute the blame to someone else.”

Last month the Attorney General introduced three families affected by opioid addiction including a 21 year old woman who became addicted to opioids and after she was prescribed OxyContin for injuries she suffered during a bicycle accident when she was 14.

“When I juxtapose the words of Richard Sackler with the face of that young 14-year-old girl, I’m appalled as the Attorney General is,” said Special Counsel for Opioids, Kimberly Massicotte. “It’s outrageous and that attitude sadly permitted the entire corporate culture at Purdue.”

Related: ‘Pill Man’ visits Connecticut to raise opioid awareness

“When someone like Richard Sackler just calls people scum of the earth, right? They don’t get it and I think it takes a deeply dark heart not to understand the toll of this crisis ,” added Tong.

News 8 reached out to Purdue Pharma and received a response stating the insensitive language in emails doesn’t reflect what Dr. Sackler or Purdue actually did about the emerging problem of opioid abuse. 

Dr. Sackler has apologized for using insensitive language and the emails were written two decades ago following news reports about criminal activity involving prescription opioids, such as drug store robberies.

He was worried that this news coverage would stigmatize an essential FDA-approved medication. 

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