‘My son’s screams will haunt me forever’: Heartbroken American families whose addicted parents were lost to America’s opioid crisis, pharmaceutical bosses of ‘scum of the earth’ brand in court
- Addicted mum Kara Trainor has told how her baby was born addicted
- Those whose lives had been ruined by OxyContin told their stories to members of the Sackler family at the hearing
- The hearing took place in the courtroom in White Plains, New York
The heartbroken parents of those lost to America’s opioid crisis have branded pharmaceutical bosses “scum of the earth” in their faces.
In an extraordinary court showdown, those whose lives were ruined by the painkiller OxyContin have told their harrowing stories to members of the Sackler family, owners of drug maker Purdue Pharma.
A mother who became an addict, Kara Trainor, has told how her baby was born addicted.
“If you’ve ever heard the cries of a newborn baby in weaning, they will haunt you for the rest of your life,” she told the specially convened virtual hearing. Another mother said to 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 Purdue Pharma bankruptcy.
Addicted mum Kara Trainor (pictured) has told how her baby was born addicted
The company and its executives are accused of pushing OxyContin to patients when they knew it was highly addictive. The result has been arguably the biggest public health crisis in the United States, which has claimed more than 500,000 lives over the past two decades.
More than 140,000 people have taken legal action against Purdue and are to share a £570million compensation pot.
The court heard from around two dozen relatives of those who had overdosed or were addicted to the painkiller.
One after another, victims recounted surgeries or illnesses that led to OxyContin prescriptions, followed by addiction, despair, drug rehab, personal and financial ruin and, all too often, death by overdose or suicide.
Giving her heartbreaking testimony, recovering drug addict Miss Trainor spoke to the drugmakers she holds responsible for a lifetime of suffering. She described giving birth to her son, Riley, while taking methadone for her addiction in heartbreaking detail.
Riley, now 11, has autism and still uses a baby cup and wears diapers. Miss Trainor said: ‘He will need care for the rest of his life.
One after another, victims recounted surgeries or illnesses that led to OxyContin prescriptions, followed by addiction, despair, cycles of drug treatment, personal and financial ruin and, too often death by overdose or suicide (stock image)
Attending the hearing was Dr Richard Sackler, 77, a former chairman of Purdue who eavesdropped off-camera – a decision that has angered victims.
His son David Sackler, 41, a former board member, and Dame Theresa Sackler, 73, British-born third wife of Dr Mortimer Sackler, one of the company’s founders, were also present.
Kirsty Nelson, who found her son Bryan, 20, dead of an overdose, said: ‘You’ve really benefited from the deaths of children. You are the scum of the earth’.
Purdue has twice pleaded guilty to criminal charges, but neither Sackler has been charged with crimes. Earlier this week, Judge Robert Drain gave interim approval to key elements of a plan to settle thousands of lawsuits against Perdue. If finally approved, the deal will generate £7.6bn or more to tackle addiction and overdose.
Through family charities, the Sacklers are estimated to have donated nearly £170million to UK museums, arts organizations and universities over the past decade.