Skip To Content
Fast Forward

‘Drug Dealers In Nice Suits’: Sackler Family Faces Charges For Abuse Of Opioids

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.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.