September 11, 2018 – As the opioid crisis continues to rage in the US, pharmaceutical manufacturers, activist groups, and state and local governments are engaged in an increasingly heated battle over who bears responsibility for the deadly epidemic and how best to treat it. On Monday, in response to recent news that Richard Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, had been part of a patent of an updated anti-opioid treatment medication earlier this year, photographer and opioid crisis activist Nan Goldin shared a scathing statement with artnet News, co-written with addiction activist and author Ryan Hampton and activist artist collective Queer Appalachia.**
“They are profiting off the crisis that they subsidized with their most profitable pill, OxyContin,” Goldin and the co-authors write. “This is reprehensible and shows a lack of any moral conscience. Maybe they can patent a funeral parlor next.” The statement goes on to condemn Purdue, its owners—the billionaire Sackler family that has deep ties to the art world—and other drug makers for generating any profit from urgently needed anti-opioid treatments, demanding that they should be made available for free.