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'I don’t know how they live with themselves' – artist Nan Goldin​ takes on the billionaire family behind OxyContin

...In 2014, Goldin was prescribed...OxyContin for painful tendonitis in her left wrist.  She promptly became addicted, despite taking the pills exactly as prescribed...When...doctors refused to supply her any more, she turned to the black market...[S]he...realised the branded medicine was prime suspect in the opioid crisis that has ripped through the US over the past 20 years.  The epidemic has killed more than 200,000 people so far...Synthetic opioids mimic the effects of natural opioid drugs...and their use, on prescription, is spreading...causing alarm among health experts...[T]he Sacklers, who are based in New York, have donated millions to the arts and sponsored faculties at Yale and many other universities...But few know their wealth comes from Purdue Pharma, a private Connecticut company the family developed and wholly owns.  In 1995, the company revolutionised the prescription painkiller market with the invention of OxyContin...After winning government approval it was hailed as a medical breakthrough...It was aggressively marketed to doctors – many of whom were...given misleading information...while patients were wrongly told the pills were a reliable long-term solution to chronic pain...Goldin...has created a campaign to try to shame the family into paying for rehab and overdose antidotes...Three Purdue Pharma executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to federal criminal charges that they misled regulators, doctors and patients about OxyContin’s risk of addiction and its potential to be abused...OxyContin is widely considered to be ground zero in the US opioid epidemic...Four out of five people in the US who try heroin today started with prescription painkillers, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine...

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