Members of the multi-billionaire Sackler family, who own the company that makes the prescription painkiller OxyContin, are facing prosecution and likely a criminal investigation over America’s devastating opioid crisis, The Guardian reported.
Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma created and sells OxyContin, a legal narcotic that kills almost 200 people a day.
Several family members were recently sued by Suffolk County in New York for the overdose deaths and addiction hitting communities. Lawyers believe other U.S. cities, counties and states will soon follow.
Prosecutors in Connecticut and New York might also be considering criminal fraud and racketeering charges, as the drug has been overprescribed and falsely marketed to doctors, legal counsel told the Guardian.
Purdue itself is also being sued by at least 30 states. Lawyers believe it will end in a massive settlement.
Paul Hanly, a New York City lawyer representing Suffolk County, described the Sacklers as a drug family.
“Drug dealers in nice suits and dresses,” he said.
Brothers Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, both of whom have died, started Purdue Pharma and created OxyContin in the mid-1990s, according to the Guardian. Out of the 20 family members, eight are listed in the lawsuit: their adult children — Richard, Jonathan, Kathe, Mortimer David Alfons Sackler and Ilene Sackler Lefcourt — and widows, Theresa and Beverly Sackler.