By Kevin MacDonald — Darkmoon Dec 28, 2017
An Abridged Version by Lasha Darkmoon
LD: Kevin MacDonald’s important article, complete with charts and scholarly footnotes, can be read in its entirety HERE. This abridged version of Professor MacDonald’s original 5000-word essay is followed by a short video I have added as an afterthought, together with an extended reflection of my own arising out of reading MacDonald’s brilliant exposé of the dark forces at work in the background of this human tragedy enfolding before our eyes: “The Opioid Epidemic and the Jewish Family behind it.” [LD]
A sense of betrayal seems to lie just behind today’s political discourse—a feeling of being left behind, a suspicion that those at the top, in media, corporations, politics, academia, and finance, have motives and goals at odds with those of the broader population. Put simply, Americans of all backgrounds fear and loathe a hostile elite. Political memes like “the Deep State,” “the 1%,” “Drain the Swamp,” “the Davos Set,” and “Masters of the Universe” each capture this feeling of alienation, suspicion, and helplessness.
Recently, the phenomenon of “The White Death” has entered the public consciousness and received comment by mainstream and elite sources. In a nutshell, working class Whites are dying at an increasing rate, whereas most studies show the mortality rates of non-Whites decreasing. For working-class Whites, almost every indicator of social dysfunction and depression are increasing: they are committing suicide; they are using drugs more often and with damaging results; they are failing to establish families; they are sleeping more and watching more television.
The opioid crisis is an intense expression of this broader phenomenon.
The past two decades have witnessed a major increase in the use of prescription opioids as a means of pain management. Abuse has become rampant and a black-market economy has arisen. The most common of these drugs is oxycodone (marketed under the names OxyContin and Percocet); and the synthesized drug fentanyl, which resembles heroin and morphine in its potency.
As the New York Times reports:
The current opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history. Overdoses, fueled by opioids, are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old — killing roughly 64,000 people last year, more than guns or car accidents, and doing so at a pace faster than the H.I.V. epidemic did at its peak.
Fatalities resemble those of a World War. Some 250,000 people, mainly Whites, have died as a result of the abuse. The journal STAT has estimated that some 500,000 might die as a result over the next decade.
A lot of the discussion centers around research by economists Anne Case and her husband, Nobel-winning Angus Deaton claiming that the increase in mortality comes from “deaths of despair [that] come from a long-standing process of cumulative disadvantage for those with less than a college degree. The story is rooted in the labor market, but involves many aspects of life, including health in childhood, marriage, child rearing, and religion.”
My basic theory here is that it’s not really about despair. I argue there are two things at work here: one is the decline in our culture generally brought about by the 1960s’ counter-cultural revolution affecting health in childhood, marriage, child rearing, and religion. But added to that is a very specific situation involving opioid drugs that in turn is linked to academic researchers willing to falsify data for financial gain, a corrupt pharmaceutical industry, especially Purdue Pharma owned by the Sackler family, and lax government regulation of drugs because of manipulation by the pharmaceutical industry.
A 2016 article in the New York Times elaborates on the findings of Case & Deaton based on their examination of 60 million death certificates from 1990–2014, but pins the blame squarely on opioids, not on alcohol or suicide.
The problem for the White working class is a greedy pharmaceutical industry that has manipulated government regulating agencies and mainstream opinion in the medical profession. A fundamental problem in dealing with this now is that the cat is out of the bag. These trends toward increased mortality over 1999 levels will continue no matter what the government does about OxyContin. Increased regulation simply forces addicts into heroin and other illegal drugs. The latest data show that deaths from drug overdoses continue to increase, now around 65,000 per year, despite increased government regulation.
THREE ELITE MEMBERS OF THE SACKLER CLAN, THE JEWISH FAMILY BEHIND THE OPIOID CRISIS
This all started with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, owned by the Sackler family—described by the New Yorker as “the family that built an empire of pain.” This is an amazing and very depressing story.
Originally, OxyContin-type drugs were used only for severe pain — as continues to be the case in Europe, so their use was quite limited. Purdue’s program was to get OxyContin prescribed for even minor pain. Part of that was to claim that OxyContin was less addictive because it was timed-release, but simply breaking the pill up before swallowing negated the timed-release and they were well aware of that. Their promotional materials emphasized their humanitarian motives—what could be more high-minded, after all, than relieving pain without fear of addiction?
Purdue essentially created a very large community of people who benefited financially from prescribing opioids. They set up and funded organizations that lobbied for more aggressive treatment of pain by treatment with opioids. Millions were funneled into organizations like the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine and Purdue’s own advocacy group, Partners Against Pain, as well as to medical professionals willing to provide data supporting the movement. Purdue hired an army of sales reps to promote opioids to all medical personnel, from doctors to physician assistants. A consistent part of the pitch was to minimize addiction rates. Purdue claimed addiction rates were less than 1% by cherry picking studies that did not examine the effects of long-term use. Other studies often showed much higher rates, as high as 50%. This misrepresentation was at the root of the $600M judgement against Purdue obtained by the US government.
The original study claiming very low rates of addiction was in 1986 by R. K. Portenoy based on 38 patients.
Portenoy, of Metropolitan Jewish Health System in New York City, gained renown in the 1980s and 1990s for advocating consideration of opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain of all kinds, at a time when such use was discouraged. In the 2012 WSJ interview, he conceded that research had not backed up the effectiveness of opioids for these types of pain and that the risks of addiction and other adverse effects were greater than he previously had indicated.
Portenoy also maintains financial relationships with opioid drugmaker Purdue Pharma, as well as other scores of other pharmaceutical companies, many of which have pain offerings: Afferent, Cephalon, CNSBio, Covidien, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt, Grupo Ferrer, King Pharmaceuticals, NicOx, Prostraken, Shire, Solvay, Wyeth, Xenon, Archimedes, Baxter, Calloway, Flamek, Fralex, GW Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer.
Once Purdue showed how much money could be made, other pharmaceutical companies jumped into the market. When confronted with data showing that addiction rates were much higher, Portenoy recanted his strong claims but still maintained that opioids were a great treatment for non-cancer pain. And in any case, the damage was already done.
Propublica to their credit has taken a major role in showing how doctors and various organizations benefit from the pharmaceutical industry. It’s a pervasive problem in all areas of medicine, but quite often it’s because they promote drugs that don’t really work compared to placebos. They are not killing tens of thousands of people. Nevertheless, the lesson is to stay away from prescribed drugs as much as possible and do thorough investigations before taking anything. This is an incredibly corrupt industry from top to bottom and it goes way beyond being a specifically Jewish problem. However, the opioid epidemic is in large part a Jewish story.
When it comes to pain management, Propublica emphasizes the roles of two Jewish physicians, Scott Fishman and Perry Fine, prominently associated with the American Pain Foundation which got 88% of its budget from Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies. Fine has been funded by at least a dozen drug companies and Fishman has had relationships with at least eight companies, including Purdue, for which he was a consultant, paid speaker and recipient of research support. They claim that all this financial remuneration did not affect their opinions. And if you believe that, you are an idiot.
The FDA also played an important role, for example, not reviewing Purdue’s promotional literature which included a video that claimed addiction was “very rare”; this was eventually removed, but the damage was done. And of course, even if addiction rates were low when patients used the drug as their doctors intended, many quickly learned to break the tablets up and snort it or inject it. Again, becoming addicted is more likely to occur in people who have less impulse control—those in the lower part of the bell curve.
Purdue left no stone unturned. Hospital accreditation groups also played a role. Hospitals were required by the feds to administer questionnaires to patients recording their pain experience on a 10-point scale, and were threatened with loss of accreditation if they were found to be allowing too much pain.
In 2006, it became mandatory to poll discharged patients about whether their pain had been adequately assessed and treated during their stay. The change was put in place by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services acting on recommendations of the Joint Commission, the national nonprofit health care quality organization that accredits hospitals [which was funded by Purdue. The results of these surveys are posted online and they contribute substantially to how the Joint Commission ranks hospitals.
The results of these surveys can affect whether or not a hospital is eligible for Medicaid reimbursements, so scoring poorly can affect a hospital’s bottom line. In 2012, the Affordable Care Act made this connection even more direct when it gave Medicare the ability to withhold a portion of hospital reimbursement if patient satisfaction scores were low.
Unsurprisingly, under this regime, the number of opioid prescriptions increased dramatically. Worried that their survey scores would be low for not treating pain aggressively enough (and under pressure to address this), doctors began liberally prescribing opioids.(Jeremy Samuel Faust, ‘The Untold Story of America’s Opioid Addiction’)
Esquire’s Christopher Glazek writes:
Flush with cash, Purdue pioneered a high-cost promotion strategy, effectively providing kickbacks—which were legal under American law—to each part of the distribution chain. Wholesalers got rebates. Pharmacists got refunds. Patients got coupons for thirty-day starter supplies. Academics got grants. Medical journals got millions in advertising. Senators and members of Congress on key committees got donations from Purdue and from members of the Sackler family.
They flew doctors to “seminars’ in fancy vacation destinations. Doctors who didn’t get on board were offered speaking fees to endorse OxyContin. The feds finally sued Purdue in 2007, with Purdue pleading guilty to felony charges, admitting that it had lied to doctors about OxyContin’s abuse potential.
Under the agreement, the company paid $600 million in fines and its three top executives at the time pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges—after thousands of deaths as a result of their actions. The executives paid $34.5 million out of their own pockets and performed four hundred hours of community service. It was one of the harshest penalties ever imposed on a pharmaceutical company but how can one take it seriously when the people responsible got away with pleading guilty to misdemeanors at a time when by 2001 Purdue was selling $1 billion of OxyContin yearly.
In total, Purdue Pharma has made $35 billion, and the Sackler family walked away with around $13 billion.
Misdemeanor pleas for being responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people while walking away with billions.
Perhaps the height of cynicism was in 2010, when Purdue reformlated the drug to be less easy to snort—very near the end of its patent on the original version. So it got more years of patent protection.
So the Sackler family is in the clear and is now posing as great humanitarian philanthropists. It’s well known that opioid addiction in mothers has a devastating effect on newborn babies.
Opioid withdrawal, which causes aches, vomiting, and restless anxiety, is a gruesome process to experience as an adult. It’s considerably worse for the twenty thousand or so American babies who emerge each year from opioid-soaked wombs.
These infants, suddenly cut off from their supply, cry uncontrollably.
Their skin is mottled. They cannot fall asleep. Their bodies are shaken by tremors and, in the worst cases, seizures. Bottles of milk leave them distraught, because they cannot maneuver their lips with enough precision to create suction.
Treatment comes in the form of drops of morphine pushed from a syringe into the babies’ mouths. Weaning sometimes takes a week but can last as long as twelve. It’s a heartrending process.
Christopher Glazek, ’The Secretive Family Making Millions from the Opioid Crisis,’ Esquire, October 16, 2017, http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a12775932/sackler-family-oxycontin/, accessed December 7, 2017.
BORN ADDICTED BABY — HERE IS ANOTHER
Because of this sort of thing, the Sackler family has been especially motivated to make people think they care about children: “Several have made children a focus of their business and philanthropic endeavors.”
And because they are such wonderful people they have donated to high-profile institutions, always with their name on it.
So we have the Sackler Galleries at the Royal Academy Of Arts in London; the Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities at the Louvre; The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian, Washington, and the Sackler gallery in Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences at Yale, and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.
There is effusive praise from the beneficiaries. Tufts spokesperson said:
“It would be impossible to calculate how many lives you have saved, how many scientific fields you have redefined, and how many new physicians, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers are doing important work as a result of your entrepreneurial spirit. You are a world changer.”
So the Sackler family are being praised for saving lives at a time when the opioid epidemic they started has claimed the lives of over 250,000 mainly White people.
One wonders if the Sacklers would have attempted to engage in such a campaign in Israel.
THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
AND THE JEWISH FAMILY BEHIND IT
by Lasha Darkmoon