Friday, January 20, 2023

the last book I ever read (Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Family, excerpt eight)

from Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Family by Patrick Radden Keefe:

In February 2000, the top federal prosecutor in Maine, Jay McCloskey, sent a letter to thousands of doctors across the state, warning them about the increasing dangers of abuse and “diversion” of OxyContin. Howard Udell, when he learned of McCloskey’s letter, was dismissive. He derided McCloskey as “some overly zealous prosecutor with political ambition” who was just “trying to grab a headline.” But this was a federal official, raising the alarm about a drug that was now generating $ 1 billion a year. So, several months later, Udell flew to Maine, along with Michael Friedman, to meet with McCloskey personally. The prosecutor was concerned about increasingly rampant abuse of OxyContin. Kids were taking the drug, he said. Bright kids. It was ruining their lives. He found it a little strange that his small state had now become one of the highest consumers of OxyContin, per capita, in the nation. McCloskey mentioned the jumbo 160-milligram pills. “One of the doctors up here told me that one of these tablets could kill a kid if swallowed,” he said. “Is that so?”

“Probably,” Udell and Friedman acknowledged.

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