From the 3/4 Show – Withdrawal, Addiction, Death and Destruction – The Sackler Family

My thanks to Geraldine Burns, Jennifer Roeder and David Knight for bringing a greater awareness of the benzodiazepine family of drugs to the radio show Sunday night.  The benzodiazepines include the generic names diazepam, alprazolam, clonazepam, lorazepam, temazepam, triazolam, chlordiazepoxide, and about twenty additional drugs in the family.  Most people still refer to the family by their original brand names; Librium, Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_benzodiazepines

There are a number of web sites available to help people navigate the dangers the benzodiazepines offer too often.  http://www.benzosupport.org/ (support the FDA petition)   In 1979, Senator Edward Kennedy had a Congressional hearing on the benzodiazepines and twenty years ago a detailed paper was published detailing the introduction of Xanax.  http://www.benzo.org.uk/xanax2.htm   The benzodiazepine family of drugs is another example of “not safe as prescribed”.

Shockingly, starting with the mass marketing of Librium and Valium in the early 1960′s, the problems the family of benzodiazepines has created in this country is well documented.  A conservative number of 25% of the individuals who take the benzodiazepines for a long period of time will develop physical dependency and severe withdrawal symptoms.  Those on alprazolam will face over a 50% possibility of sickness when trying to stop taking the drug.

Geraldine, Jennifer and David all helped emphasize the dangers and reality of a phenomena that has remained for almost 50 years and quietly suppressed.  Over 100 million prescriptions are written yearly for a benzodiazepine drug and the human and economic damages from the drugs could be extrapolated into the billions of dollars.

I discovered an unbelievable reality in doing research for the show.  Arthur Sackler was considered the mastermind of bringing Valium to America.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_M._Sackler   The ingenious marketing behind Valium offered a panacea for both the doctor (money) and patient (hope). 

Arthur Sackler’s two younger brothers, Mortimer and Raymond started Purdue Pharma which brought OxyContin into every community in North America.  The damage and destruction since the introduction of OxyContin is well documented http://banoxycontin.com

The Sackler family is well known for their philanthropy in terms of donating to medical institutions, museums and education.  Even Arthur Sackler’s daughter, Elizabeth has attempted to hide the origins of the money she donates with. http://lib.stanford.edu/women-art-revolution/bio-elizabeth-sackler

It is ironic to this radio show host that a single family in the course of over 50 years could be responsible for so much damage to so many families and think that their contributions can erase the memories of so many victims.

It appears that the elitist followers of art and education are not very bright.  The silence continues.

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3 Responses to From the 3/4 Show – Withdrawal, Addiction, Death and Destruction – The Sackler Family

  1. Sinforoso says:

    Seven and a half years ago, on July 26th 2003, my older brother, Matthew, died at home due to an atcndeical overdose of heroin. He was born into our family, the second, of nine children. Matthew was a free-spirited, fun loving person who enjoyed life. The end came about one evening when he was out driving and was about to be pulled over by the police. He had a bag of heroin on him, wrapped in wax paper, which he decided to swallow to hide from police. His GirlFriend was with him and he assured her he could force himself to vomit it out later. But after being taken to the police station and held for some hours, he drove to Wendy’s and bought a large amount of food, scarfed it down, and tried to vomit it up. The heroin did not come up. Maybe this frightened him, or maybe thought that it would be passed in his stool the following day, so he went home and went to sleep. The wax paper wrappings did not withstand the acidity of his stomach, and it was broken down. My family and I found him, cold and gray, that Saturday around 3 pm. Matthew was one of 6 boys and 3 girls. We were crushed when we lost him. He was just 29 years young.Life and time went by, and we all thought it was a lesson to be learned. Couldn’t imagine that after loosing our brother, one would be so foolish as to mess around with any type of drug. On October 15th 2005, just two short years after Matthew died, I received a phone call early one morning at about 7am. My father, panicking on the other end, told me that my brother Jeremy was dead. It couldn’t be so, he was such a good, quiet kid only 19 years young. But it was so. I met my family in the Emergency Room that morning and found Jeremy lying on the stretcher, dead. This was more than we could bear. Jeremy was a good boy, the 7th child. He had moved out of the house just two weeks prior, and my mother was bothered by it. But we knew he had a good head on his shoulders. His roommate and him were having a party at their new apartment one night and drinking. But, prior to the party, Jeremy was dealing with one of the neighborhood girls, who had her own stash of prescription drugs due to her paralysis. She was dealing the drugs to the kids in the area. The night of the party, after drinking for a while, Jeremy took some of the pills he had, and also a fentenyl duragesic patch. Instead of wearing the patch on the skin, so it is slow absorbed, he cut off the top and ingested the gel contents inside the patch. His friends found him convulsing and foaming at the mouth and put him in the car and drove him to the hospital. One friend tried to give him mouth to mouth on the way there. It was too late. How could it be so? we wondered. How can one family loose two children within 2 years? My mother and father surely could never get over it.It’s been five and half years since we lost Jeremy. There are two boys born after Jeremy, twins, Nicholas and Noah. They are terrific boys and for sure have learned a lesson in all of this. At least it is what we expected. My youngest brother Nicholas was a quiet boy. He was jolly, much like Matthew was. We did learn, however, that he had been getting involved with drugs, such as xanax and oxycontin. With Nicholas things were different. We ALL knew of his troubles and we all tried to stop him. He always downplayed what he took, or denied it. But we knew he had a problem. My father even told him, at one time, that he would take him to rehab if he doesn’t stop. But Nick knew he couldn’t be forced to go and told my father he wouldn’t. He would promise us that he doesn’t take anything, or that he has stopped. This year, On January 22nd 2011, around 345pm, I received the dreaded phone call. My mother, barely understandable, crying to me, told me that Nicholas is dead. They had just found him. Much like his brother Matthew, he was found on his bed, in his room, in a very comfortable looking position, but cold and gray. This was UNREAL! Just less then 2 weeks ago, we lost our baby of the family, Nick was just 21 years young. He hadn’t stopped what he was doing. He didn’t listen to us. And now we grieve for the loss of the 3rd child in our family, tragically lost due to drugs.

    • Tushar says:

      HI Ashley. I read your story and just want to say the being a little more then 30 years rovecery alumni of Phoenix House I’m extremely very proud of you. As you stated that no one can really do it but yourself is true. Several thing which have helped me all these years is that I never forgot where I came from and whenever the opportunity arrises I speak highly of the program and use most of the tools I learned at the program to advice others. I would say that most rovecery alumni who allow themselves to be known become positive role models for many in society. I’ve earned the respect from so many throughout the years and that is do to my positive lifestyled. I always use the words positive thinking and speak much of the power of the mind. Of course I never leave God out of my discusions but I know that he is always present and allows me to make my own decisions as long as I maintain a positive focus on life. Once again congratulations and remember that whatever positive steps you take in life are the same that child follows especially when they are positive ones. God Bless you and continued success.

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