Empire of Pain

I will pretty much read anything by Patrick Radden Keefe now. He does an outstanding job of taking complicated topics and unraveling them for the reader. SAY NOTHING was incredible, and EMPIRE OF PAIN is no different.

Usually when reading about the opioid epidemic that has gripped America for the last few decades you hear about the victims in tragic stories or maybe you hear about corrupt pharmacies or dishonest doctors. This book shows you that it is all by design. The Sacklers have done everything to distance themselves and their hand in the creation and widespread abuse of OxyContin and this account seeks to bring them closer to the center. The Sacklers are not squarely to blame, but they definitely have the lion’s share. This is the story of American greed and how the rich always seem to escape culpability. The Sackler family is like a giant octopus with their great tentacles sampling every corner of capitalism, from medical advertising to worker exploitation, in order to maximize profits and in turn maximize human suffering. And when all evidence of that suffering is flying in their face they buckle down and ask, “well how can we market this to pediatricians to further our profits?” (Yes, they wanted to figure out how to get very young kids to take potent pain killers, fortunately they were unsuccessful)

I couldn’t help but think of Gifty and her brother in Yaa Gyassi’s TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM. The casualness of prescribing OxyContin is so pervasive. I think of the people I know that have been affected, and my rage grows. This is an important book. If you have been affected by this crisis, I highly suggest you read it. It will be hard to get through, but it is worth the time. (Shout out to @thatgoodgoodbook for getting me on the EOP train)

[ID: The book Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe laying on a tile with pink marble and black geometric shapes.]

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