The Bottom Line

The US drug abuse epidemic is killing 300 Americans a day

Inside the Sackler dynasty and the company, Purdue Pharma, that allegedly fuelled the US opioid epidemic.

Purdue Pharma introduced the opioid painkiller OxyContin in the 1990s and promoted it aggressively as non-addictive.

United States government lawyers argued that the company’s owners, the Sacklers, knew how their medication was being abused widely, but doubled down on production – and profits. Recently a lawsuit was settled for $6bn.

Barry Meier, the author of Pain Killer (soon to be a Netflix series), started writing about the opioid epidemic 20 years ago when it was killing about 20,000 people yearly. He tells host Steve Clemons how corporate greed and government dithering have led that number to exceed 100,000 deaths last year alone.