Perhaps the Greatest Unindicted Crime in History

Gayle Leslie
4 min readOct 2, 2023

“We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible.” ~Richard Sackler

Richard Sackler

Cancel Culture: the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.

Consequence: a result or effect of an action or condition.

This is an excerpt from a more comprehensive piece I wrote on the banality of ‘whiteness.’

I’d thought to write a piece on the cascade of uber wealthy saying the quiet part out loud in recent weeks, telling us — to our faces — that all those decades of working people ‘complaining’ about the institutional racism, misogyny and classism that we intuited were keeping us on our knees, unable to prosper, to move forward, to thrive — all the reasons, the excuses these self-congratulatory gatekeepers had for not treating working folks with dignity, let alone paying them — was all in our heads. That all ‘we the people’ had to do was work harder, be sweeter and stop complaining and that we would be fine.

The self ordained ‘ruling class’ were not ‘gaslighting’ us, they were just smarter, they worked harder, they just knew better than we did what was good for us. That ‘we the people’ were lazy and ungrateful.

‘We the people’ aren’t fine. In fact, weren’t f*cking pissed and over it.

My first thought was to write about them, but lately they’ve done such a stellar job of telling us themselves, saying the quiet part out loud that I’ve elected to let these clever folks speak for themselves.

“The pill is stronger than morphine and sparked the opioid crisis that’s now killing more than 100 people a day in America and has spawned millions of addicts.”

We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are the reckless criminals.” ~ Richard Sackler

Richard Sackler, chairman of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, oversaw the evolution of Oxycontin as a powerful ‘painkiller’: several decades ago, when it all started, Oxy — as it is called — provided effective relief for pain often caused by injury. Wasting no time, though, Richard Sackler personally engineered a ‘marketing’ plan to keep increasing the potency of the pills while offering doctors major perks and benefits to prescribe Oxy. Higher dosing rapidly turned pain patients into desperate drug addicts, killing thousands and destroying families.

When confronted by the madness of his methodology, Sackler continues repeating his talking point that people who become addicted are weak, that they are addicts because they fail to control their own impulses. To this day he’s not admitted that his increasing the opioid’s potency — doubling and tripling it — with every new incarnation was designed to addict pain patients, compelling insurance companies to pay ever increasing prices to sustain patients’ addictions and driving drug starved patients to commit crimes to afford the pills. Thus providing an ever increasing cash flow for the company, and the Sackler family.

The Sacklers made tens-of-billions in blood money marketing Oxy to desperate people while the death toll surpasses a million Americans and counting.

“Until recently, Purdue was controlled by the Sackler family, who withdrew billions of dollars from the company before it filed for bankruptcy. The family has now agreed to contribute up to $6 billion to Purdue’s reorganization fund on the condition that the Sacklers receive a release from civil liability.”

In recent months the Supreme Court blocked Purdue’s bankruptcy filing citing the terms of the filing let Purdue, and the Sacklers personally, off the hook for future civil liability for deaths from the evil genie they unleashed.

No member of the Sackler family has ever been criminally charged in connection with the marketing of OxyContin, or any overdose deaths involving the drug.”

Chuckleheads like Richard Sackler and his utterly coo coo-for-Cocoa Puffs brood leverage their whiteness to access the levers of power: power to gerrymander elections; power to gerrymander the stock market; power to gerrymander the mechanisms of governance, taxation, regulation and the judiciary; the power to gerrymander the assembly-line floor, to withhold life altering healthcare, to rape with impunity and to decide who becomes a star and who is never heard from again.

While the rest of us are expected to resign ourselves to our lesser station in the social order, bend over and grab our ankles and take it up the a** without resistance or complaint.

Begging the question: how’s that goin’ for ya’?