Heartbroken US families whose drug addict relatives were lost to America’s opioid crisis

‘My son’s screams will haunt me forever’: Heartbroken US families whose drug addict relatives were lost to America’s opioid crisis brand pharmaceutical bosses ‘scum of the earth’ to their faces in court

  • One mother who became hooked, Kara Trainor, told how baby son was born addicted
  • Those whose lives had been blighted by OxyContin told their stories to members of the Sackler family at the hearing
  • The hearing took place in courtroom in White Plains, New York

Heartbroken relatives of those lost to America’s opioid crisis branded pharmaceutical bosses ‘scum of the earth’ to their faces.

In an extraordinary court confrontation, those whose lives have been blighted by the painkiller OxyContin told their harrowing stories to members of the Sackler family, which owns the drug’s maker Purdue Pharma.

One mother who became hooked, Kara Trainor, told how her baby son was born addicted.

‘If you have ever heard the screams of a newborn in withdrawal they will haunt you for the rest of your life,’ she told the specially convened virtual hearing. Another mother told the three members of the Sackler family: ‘You murdered my daughter and destroyed my family.’

The hearing took place in a courtroom in White Plains, New York, which is handling the bankruptcy of Purdue Pharma.

One mother who became hooked, Kara Trainor, (pictured) told how her baby son was born addicted

The company and its executives are accused of pushing OxyContin to patients even though they knew it was highly addictive. The result was arguably America’s biggest public health crisis which led to more than 500,000 deaths over the past two decades.

More than 140,000 have filed legal claims against Purdue and are due to split a compensation pot of £570million.

The court heard from around two dozen relatives of those who overdosed or were addicted to the painkiller.

One after another, victims gave accounts of surgeries or illnesses that led to OxyContin prescriptions, followed by dependency, despair, rounds of drug-abuse treatment, personal and ruin financial and, all too often, death by overdose or suicide.

Delivering her gut-wrenching testimony, recovering addict Miss Trainor addressed the drugmakers responsible for a lifetime of suffering. She described giving birth to her son, Riley, while she was taking methadone for her addiction in harrowing detail.

Riley, now 11, has autism and still uses a baby cup and wears nappies. Miss Trainor said: ‘He will need care for the rest of his life’.

One after another, victims gave accounts of surgeries or illnesses that led to OxyContin prescriptions, followed by dependency, despair, rounds of drug-abuse treatment, personal and ruin financial and, all too often, death by overdose or suicide (stock image)

One after another, victims gave accounts of surgeries or illnesses that led to OxyContin prescriptions, followed by dependency, despair, rounds of drug-abuse treatment, personal and ruin financial and, all too often, death by overdose or suicide (stock image)

Attending the hearing was Dr Richard Sackler, 77, a former Purdue president who listened off camera – a decision which caused fury among the victims.

His son David Sackler, 41, a former board member and Dame Theresa Sackler, 73, the British-born third wife of Dr Mortimer Sackler, one of the company’s founders, were also there.

Kirsty Nelson, who found her son Bryan, 20, dead of an overdose, said: ‘You have truly benefited from the death of children. You are scum of the earth’.

Purdue has twice pleaded guilty to criminal charges, but no Sacklers have been charged with crimes. Earlier this week Judge Robert Drain gave tentative approval to key elements of a plan to settle thousands of lawsuits against Perdue. If finally approved, the deal will generate £7.6billion or more to fight addiction and overdoses.

Through family charities, the Sacklers are estimated to have given almost £170million to British museums, arts organizations and universities in the last decade.

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