More than two dozen American victims of the opioid crisis confronted the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, on Thursday.
The virtual hearing was meant to last two hours, but ended up lasting three, as victims and the families of victims took turns confronting members of the Sackler family in what the Associated Press described as “angry, defiant, and sometimes tearful” testimony in the makeshift trial.
“I hope every single victim’s face haunts your every waking moment and your sleeping ones too,” said Ryan Hampton, a Las Vegas resident who became heavily addicted to OxyContin, eventually ending up homeless from his ongoing addictions, AP reported. Hampton has been in recovery for seven years since seeking treatment for his addiction, which started when he was prescribed OxyContin for knee pain, AP reported.
“You poisoned our lives and had the audacity to blame us for dying,” Hampton said. “I hope you hear our names in your dreams. I hope you hear the screams of the families who find their loved ones dead on the bathroom floor. I hope you hear the sirens. I hope you hear the heart monitor as it beats along with a failing pulse.”
I can’t tweet longer quotes because of char limits but this was one part of Ryan’s address to Richard Sackler: pic.twitter.com/8ydJViuVMM
— Meryl Kornfield (@MerylKornfield) March 10, 2022
Several victims played the 9-1-1 recording of them calling paramedics as their sons overdosed, one of whom then called the Sackler family the “scum of the Earth,” according to AP. (RELATED: Opioid Crisis Victims Confront Billionaire Sackler Family Directly In Makeshift Trial)
Former Purdue President Richard Sackler appeared at the hearing via audio only, while his son, David Sackler, and his sister-in-law, Theresa Sackler, wife of the late Mortimer D. Sackler, were present on video, the AP noted. David and Theresa’s expressions remained neutral throughout the three-hour hearing, even as they listened to the harrowing experiences of those poisoned by OxyContin, the outlet reported.
“I’m angry, I’m pissed, but I move on,” Janette Adams told the Sackler family, describing how her late husband, physician and church deacon, Dr. Thomas Adams, became addicted to opioids after Purdue representatives pitched him on their efficacy, according to the AP. “Because our society lost a person who could have made so many more contributions … You took so much from us, but we plan to, through our faith in God, move forward.”
Others were less forgiving. “I am no longer the woman I once was. You have cheated my children from the mother I once was, you have cheated my husband from the wife I once was. However, I can still look in the mirror and know that I am a good person … May God have mercy on all your souls, because no one in this room will,” said Jill Cichowicz, according to ABC News. Cichowicz’s twin brother, Scott, died of a fentanyl overdose in 2017.
Many Americans, often children, have died of fentanyl poisonings after buying counterfeit OxyContin and other opioid pills, according to CNN. “When you created OxyContin, you created so much loss for so many people,” said Kay Scarpone, who lost her son Joseph to addiction. “I’m outraged that you haven’t owned up to the crisis that you’ve created.”
To date, Richard Sackler has not admitted any wrongdoing and had said that Purdue did not contribute to the opioid epidemic, according to Reuters. You can read the Daily Caller’s series on the opioid crisis and the Sackler family, “American Cartel,” here.
The hearing took place on Richard Sackler’s 77th birthday, according to ABC. “I understand today’s your birthday, Richard. How will you be celebrating? I guarantee it won’t be in the cemetery … You have truly benefited from the death of children,” Kristy Nelson said, before her husband, Bill commented, I seriously doubt that anything any of us say today to these people will have any effect whatsoever. When we are done, David and Theresa will do whatever billionaires and dames do. Richard will hang up his phone and go do whatever greedy billionaire cowards do on their birthdays.”
Bill and Kristy’s son, Bryan, died of an overdose, according to ABC. They will celebrate Bryan’s 34th birthday later this month by visiting the cemetery where he is buried, ABC reported.