Purdue Pharma: The Nino Brown Of Oxycontin And Heroin
By Jack Kelly
For movie buffs and cultural enthusiasts, Nino Brown is an infamous, cold-hearted drug dealing character played brilliantly by Wesley Snipes in the Mario Van Peebles film New Jack City. In the film, Nino Brown pioneers a crack dealing empire that brings him immense profits while simultaneously destroying his community in New York.
On the surface, the tale of Brown is a familiar one. Drugs are bad and people such as Nino Brown are evil, however charismatic and subtly seductive they may be. Throughout out the movie, Brown strategisizes with fellow ‘investors’ and convinces them that crack, as a product will be a smart investment. Because as Brown describes it, people of his community are down trotted peons who need a lift, and crack will provide this.
Well, Brown’s plan was executed to a degree that would make Gordon Gekko blush. As Brown predicted, his New York City neighborhood had an insatiable appetite for crack and profits soared making investors happy. In fact, investors were so enthusiastic about the business, they decided that an expansion was in order.
So Brown engineered a hostile takeover of a dense, New York city public housing unit and “insourced” the production of crack. a factory of workers were recruited from the surrounding community. Brown even started giving turkey’s out during thanksgiving, a la Robin Hood. Sounds good right? Give Brown all your money for a little crack, but don’t worry, the turkey will taste good on Thanksgiving.
As one could imagine, profits increased, but so did the destruction of the community. Sure, Brown and his investors were making a killing, but crime started to soar and his community was devoured beyond recognition.
One particular individual, an older gentleman took exception to Brown and confronted him on several occasions. But as Brown stated, he was an entrepreneur, a natural extension of the message for upward mobility provided by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, it was statement born of nonsensical horse shit.
In the end, Brown was arrested, but because of a tricky legal maneuver was not convicted. But alas, Brown was shot and killed by that old guy who he rendered a useless pain in the ass earlier in the movie.
So how does this compare to Purdue Pharma you may ask? Well a lot, only the difference being is legality and mainstream acceptance. One is protected by the federal government and socially accepted by all of us, whereas a non-fictional Brown would be vilified outside of the Harlemesque borough he commanded. Executives at Purdue are lauded as entrepreneurs; good business people who are allowed to legally invest and splurge their tremendous earnings.
But like brown, their earnings were garnered through pain and destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives at the cost of hundreds of millions.
Recently, I came across an excellent piece written by Erin Baldassari for the Boston Phoenix about Oxy’s and Purdue Pharma. This was as detailed an article I have ever seen and deserves greater bulging eyeballs pouring over its content. Over the past decade, we have become accustomed to horrific stories of Oxy’s in the U.S. In television shows, documentaries and various forms of literature, the horrors of this pill have been tabulated.
Except, these stories have largely avoided the big fat elephant in the room residing not in Afghanistan or some foreign outpost easily disdained. This place of dystopian dreams is in the nondescript state of Connecticut.
As Baldassari highlighted, the Oxy epidemic was no accident. It was a calculated money grab perfectly planned by individuals who want us to believe a pill containing large amounts of oxycodone (a very similar chemical to heroin and the main ingredient in percocet) would somehow be non-habit forming. Despite thousand of years worth of evidence to the contrary demonstrating how addictive opiate laced substances are, Purdue tries to maintain a posture of “AWW shucks, sorry, we really didn’t mean all that destruction.”
But like Nino Brown, Purdue had a reason to cause such destruction and it is called cold hard cash. And there is a lot of it. Let us look at the stats Baldassari states:
“Purdue raked in billions for its flagship pain medication OxyContin — despite federal indictments that resulted in hundreds of millions paid out in legal judgments, following a highly publicized 2007 court battle. Nor did the legal outcome slow the drug down — Purdue’s Oxy profits soared from $800 million in 2006, the year before the federal settlement, to over $3 billion in 2011.”
Purdue, like other cowardly companies or certain elected officials who wish to shield themselves from responsibility, complained of unfair reporting and put suffering cancer patients out in front to defend them. They started a PR campaign, rigorously defending their product as a public good. Legitimate people were pimped out in front of cameras talking about Oxy’s being a life saver.
From a PR standpoint, it is a brilliant, yet tired practice. Sure, it certainly put adversaries in a precarious position, because who wants to take something away from people suffering from cancer? Not me or anyone else with a moderate sense of humanity.
However, the dirty little secret is this: We have more than enough opiate pain medicine on the market. In fact, here is a list: Percodan®, Percocet® Roxicodone®, Tylox® OxyContin® Lorcet®, Vicodin® Zydone® Tylenol 3® Fiorinal® with Codeine Fioricet® with Codeine Demerol® Darvon®, Darvon-N® Wygesic® Duragesic®, Actiq® MS Contin®, Avinza® Dilaudid® Dolophine® Lortab® Phenaphen® with Codeine 3 Stadol® Talacen® Talwin NX® Ultram®.
Here is what this lengthly list means in laymen terms. There is enough opiate laced pain medicine to drill anyone into submission. In addition, all of these mentioned medicines can be digested in a variety of forms including pills, patches, injections and even lollipops. Yes lollipops!?
From a personal standpoint, this is an important story that must be told. I personally became hooked on Oxycontin in the year of 1998 and eventually, like many of my peers moved onto heroin. I have seen so many die over the years and have heard of many more. It has caused destruction most are afraid to truly admit. Especially on the east coast, the Oxycontin epidemic is truly an epic dark paradise.
Some may think this plague has not affected them and they would be wrong. Unpaid emergency room visits and the dramatic rise in infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and B are indirectly related to rising health care costs. Increasing of police as a result of communities who have suffered from wide spread addiction, has caused taxes to rise to combat the resulting crime.
Purdue Pharma is protected under the same guise as many of the corrupt policies that harbored several companies on Wall Street. Purdue, like the Wall Street guys, have enormous power and influence. Lawmakers are terrified to take them on for fear of an aggressive pursuit of political castration, with weapons of money and granting of seed dollars for investigations to dig up any dirt existing on a lawmaker. So they do nothing and play ball.
Does this mean everyone who worked for Purdue is evil or bad? Of course not. But the group of people who allowed this drug to hit the streets, simply put, have blood on their hands. I know, I known, their defense is a simple one. How is it their fault? How could they know this would happen? Well my answer is simple, if not poetically charged in the self-ritiousness of an American idiosyncrasy.
Oxycontin, as previously mentioned, is an opiate and thus means it is a federally controlled substance. It is not Aspirin and a greater responsibility is tasked with those who bridle and dispense it. So either Purdue Pharma was to incompetent to sell Oxycontin to begin with or they knew exactly the destruction it could cause and looked the other way.
Regardless, someone should have went to jail, but it never occurred. Well, unless we count the addicts and Dominican heroin dealers who sold dope when Oxy’s became to expensive. But they are bad and evil right?! I forgot that socially acceptable part.
So what was the real reason for Purdue to create Oxycontin? Well, like Nino Brown it was all about the money, or as Randy Moss would say, Straight Cash Homey! But maybe a quote from Nino Brown actually says it all and summarizes the sad state of affairs our country has dwindled into and clearly explains why Purdue Pharma got away with raping and pillaging their own country:
Nino Brown: I‘m not guilty. *You’re* the one that’s guilty. The lawmakers, the politicians, the Columbian drug lords, all you who lobby against making drugs legal. Just like you did with alcohol during the prohibition. You’re the one who’s guilty. I mean, c’mon, let’s kick the ballistics here: Ain’t no Uzi’s made in Harlem. Not one of us in here owns a poppy field. This thing is bigger than Nino Brown. This is big business. This is the American way.
Sadly, he is right
For the walking dead, hope resides within you. Today is the day, the fight is over. A soul is such a beautiful thing to retrieve~ Some addict who has tasted the good life