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In Opioid Hearing, Drug Victim Calls Purdue Owners 'Scum Of The Earth'

In an online hearing, members of the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma heard from over two dozen people whose lives were disrupted by the opioid crisis, the Associated Press reports. Family members sat expressionless as victims of the crisis shared pictures of loved ones, a recording of a distressed 911 calls and other first-hand accounts. The owners were not allowed to respond to the victims during the federal bankruptcy court hearing. One woman, who shared a recording of her 911 call to get help for her overdosing son, called Richard Sackler, former Purdue president, "the scum of the earth." In a 2001 email, Sackler had used the phrase to refer to those struggling with addictions.

Purdue Pharma is a major element of a health crisis that has taken the lives of 500,000 Americans. The company manufacturers OxyContin, a prescription opioid it pitched as a treatment for ailments that had been considered off-limits for the powerful painkillers. Purdue pleaded guilty to criminal charges but still denies wrongdoing. Now, with a settlement of pending lawsuits estimated at $10 billion, the Sackler family faces plans to remove them from the helm of the company in exchange for protection from lawsuits. The plan calls for $6 billion in the next 17 years to fight the opioid crisis, including $750 million directly to victims. Kay Scarpone, who lost her son to addiction, told the Sacklers, “When you created OxyContin, you created so much loss for so many people. I’m outraged that you haven’t owned up to the crisis that you’ve created.”

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