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'Empire of Pain' Traces Wave of Addiction from Family's Fortune

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Paraphernalia for smoking and injecting drugs is seen after it was found during a police search on April 19, 2017, in Huntington, West Virginia. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly half a million Americans died from opioid abuse between 1999 and 2019 and one family’s name has become synonymous with that crisis.  The Sacklers, who own Purdue Pharma, built their wealth promoting the blockbuster addictive painkiller OxyContin. The company continues to face civil litigation for their role in helping ignite the epidemic of opioid addiction.  Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe joins us to talk about his new book “Empire of Pain”, which chronicles the history of the Sackler family and critically examines corporate ethics in the pharmaceutical industry.


Patrick Radden Keefe, author, "Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty"

Melissa Jacoby , professor of law, university of North Carolina


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