Between 1999 and 2017, an estimated 250,000 Americans died from overdoses involving prescription painkillers, a plague ignited by the aggressive marketing of OxyContin by its maker, Purdue Pharma.
Purdue, owned by a wealthy and secretive family--the Sacklers--knew early on that teenagers and others were abusing its billion dollar "wonder" drug. But Justice Department officials balked a decade ago when it came to meting out justice, allowing an opioid crisis to evolve into a catastrophe.
Originally published in 2003 and hailed since as groundbreaking, Meier--in this thoroughly updated edition--reveals new and shocking information about how long the drug maker knew about OxyContin's abuse, even as it marketed it aggressively, and the way government officials passed up opportunities to protect hundreds of thousands of lives.
Equal parts crime thriller, medical detective story, and business expose, Pain Killer is the origin story of the opioid crisis, a hard-hitting look at how a supposed wonder drug became the gateway drug to a national tragedy.