Richard Sackler, the former president of Purdue Pharma, called drug addicts “victimizers” in emails released Tuesday by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. “Abusers aren’t victims; they are victimizers,” Sackler wrote to an acquaintance in 2001, according to the court documents. The recipient of that email noted in a different correspondence: “Abusers die, well that is the choice they made. I doubt a single one didn’t know of the risks.” The emails were released as part of Tong’s expanded complaint against Sackler, which charges that Purdue purposefully downplayed the risks of addiction to OxyContin and other opioid painkillers. The former president allegedly wrote in another email that he wished he could publicly blame drug abusers for their drug-induced deaths, but could not because of political correctness.
“Unfortunately, when I’m ambushed by 60 Minutes, I can’t easily get this concept across,” Sackler wrote, according to the court filing. “Calling drug addicts ‘scum of the earth’ will guarantee that I become the poster child for liberals who want to... distribute the blame to someone else, as you say.” Tong called the emails “outrageous” and said they signal “an utter disregard for human life.”