Monday, January 23, 2023

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

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

“Our first month of work for Purdue was quite busy,” Dezenhall wrote to Howard Udell in late 2001. He was particularly proud of an opinion column he had managed to arrange in the New York Post that blamed “rural-area drug abusers” and “the liberals” for cooking up a fake controversy over OxyContin. When the article ran, Dezenhall sent it to Udell, Hogen, and Friedman with a promise that he could turn around the negative narrative. “The anti-story begins,” he wrote.

Dezenhall worked closely with a psychiatrist named Sally Satel who was a fellow at a conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. Satel published an essay in the Health section of The New York Times in which she argued that hysteria over opioids had made American physicians fearful of prescribing much-needed pain medication. “When you scratch the surface of someone who is addicted to painkillers,” Satel wrote, “you usually find a seasoned drug abuser with a previous habit involving pills, alcohol, heroin or cocaine.” In the article, she cited an unnamed colleague, and a study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, but did not mention that the colleague actually worked for Purdue. Or that the study had been funded by Purdue and written by Purdue employees. Or that she had shown a copy of her essay, in advance, to a Purdue official (he liked it). Or that Purdue was donating $50,000 a year to her institute at AEI.

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