One Family Reaped Billions From Opioids

Download Audio

The untold story of the family that made billions off of America's opioid flood, knowing the risks and pushing the product.

Highlight: Family members behind opioid maker could be sued personally, lawyer says

Oxycontin, shown in this file photo, is made by Purdue Pharma. (Toby Talbot/AP)
Oxycontin, shown in this file photo, is made by Purdue Pharma. (Toby Talbot/AP)

Some days America’s opioid crisis looks so big, so overwhelming, that it seems it just descended on us like a curse of nature, a plague of locusts.  It didn’t.  Opioids were very carefully and aggressively sold into the American medical system, and most prominently sold by one family.  They’re now billionaires and philanthropists. The Sackler family. You can find their name all over fancy museums and campuses.  But it’s opioid money.  This hour, On Point:  The family that made billions in America’s opioid flood. --Tom Ashbrook


Christopher Glazek, writer and editor in New York. (@seeglazek)

Mike Moore, class-action attorney at Mike Moore Law Firm in Mississippi.

From Tom's Reading List:

Esquire: The Secretive Family Making Billions From The Opioid Crisis — "To a remarkable degree, those who share in the billions appear to have abided by an oath of omertà: Never comment publicly on the source of the family’s wealth. That may be because the greatest part of that $14 billion fortune tallied by Forbes came from OxyContin, the narcotic painkiller regarded by many public-health experts as among the most dangerous products ever sold on a mass scale."

The Guardian: Drug Court — Giving Families The Chance To Break The Cycle Of Opioid Use — "'Opioid and methamphetamine abuse tore through this area like a wildfire'"

CBS News: How Complicated Is It To Declare Opioids A National Emergency? — "One concern may be that it's hard to figure exactly how a national emergency declaration would apply."

This program aired on October 24, 2017.


More from On Point

Listen Live