Empire of Pain: America’s opioid crisis and the family behind it

Book review: Patrick Radden Keefe offers a forensic account of the Sacklers’ direct involvement in the development and promotion of OxyContin

Protesters staging a die-in outside the courthouse, where a Purdue Pharmaceuticals bankruptcy hearing was  being held. Photograph:  Erik McGregor/ LightRocket via Getty

Protesters staging a die-in outside the courthouse, where a Purdue Pharmaceuticals bankruptcy hearing was being held. Photograph: Erik McGregor/ LightRocket via Getty

As the United States reels from the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed close to 600,000 lives, another epidemic has been quietly raging across the country.

Last year alone, more than 80,000 Americans died from overdoses, continuing a trend stretching back to the early 2000s. According to many experts, America’s opioid epidemic has been the biggest public health crisis facing the country in decades. Remarkably, the majority of opioid deaths are linked to legally-available drugs prescribed by doctors.

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