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“My father raised Jon and me to believe that philanthropy is an important part of how we should fill our lives,” Richard has said.
Marissa Sackler, the thirty-six-year-old daughter of Mortimer and his third wife, Theresa Rowling, founded Beespace, a nonprofit “incubator” that supports organizations like the Malala Fund.
Since 1999, two hundred thousand Americans have died from overdoses related to Oxy Contin and other prescription opioids.
Many addicts, finding prescription painkillers too expensive or too difficult to obtain, have turned to heroin.
Sackler recently told W that she finds the word “philanthropy” old-fashioned.
She considers herself a “social entrepreneur.” When the Met was originally built, in 1880, one of its trustees, the lawyer Joseph Choate, gave a speech to Gilded Age industrialists who had gathered to celebrate its dedication, and, in a bid for their support, offered the sly observation that what philanthropy really buys is immortality: “Think of it, ye millionaires of many markets, what glory may yet be yours, if you only listen to our advice, to convert pork into porcelain, grain and produce into priceless pottery, the rude ores of commerce into sculptured marble.” Through such transubstantiation, many fortunes have passed into enduring civic institutions.
Sales representatives marketed Oxy Contin as a product “to start with and to stay with.” Millions of patients found the drug to be a vital salve for excruciating pain.
The art scholar Thomas Lawton once likened the eldest brother, Arthur, to “a modern Medici.” Before Arthur’s death, in 1987, he advised his children, “Leave the world a better place than when you entered it.” Mortimer died in 2010, and Raymond died earlier this year.
Insects are also nature’s scavengers and soil aerators.
There are proven steps that could be taken now to help stem this decline.
Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative, at Brandeis University, has worked with hundreds of patients addicted to opioids.
He told me that, though many fatal overdoses have resulted from opioids other than Oxy Contin, the crisis was initially precipitated by a shift in the culture of prescribing—a shift carefully engineered by Purdue.
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Purdue launched Oxy Contin with a marketing campaign that attempted to counter this attitude and change the prescribing habits of doctors.