Addiction profiteer and OxyContin creator Purdue Pharma just can’t get a break. The privately held pill-pusher palace faces myriad lawsuits for being a driving force in the addiction crisis currently gripping the nation, most recently coming from the state of Massachusetts on June 12. Then, the opiate factory announced massive layoffs this week, the second such move of 2018, along with a focus shift to drugs that actually help people rather than kill them.
Just days after the layoffs were announced, employees at the family-owned death factory arrived Friday to find a most challenging piece of street art outside of the Stamford, Connecticut, headquarters of the company who still totally sells addictive painkillers: a nearly 600-pound sculpture of a heroin spoon, bent and dirty with residue.
Massachusetts artist Domenic Esposito tells the Hartford Courier that his sculpture represents addiction as an epidemic, as well as paying tribute both to his brother’s 14-year struggle with addiction, and his mother who always finds the dirty spoons that signal his relapses.
Esposito said his brother started with OxyContin and Percocet and moved to heroin.
“People say [OxyContin and Percocet] aren’t a big deal, but then you’re hooked and you run out of money and you turn to heroin.
“My mom would call me in a panic … screaming she found another burnt spoon,” Esposito said. “This is a story thousands of families go through. He’s lucky to be alive.”
The Danbury News-Times reports that the sculpture was installed as part of the Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery’s “Opioid: Express Yourself” multimedia exhibit. Strategically placed by Alvarez to block both a driveway and a sidewalk, the sculpture, called “Purdue,” remained in place for over two hours before city workers arrived to remove it.
Alvarez was arrested for both a misdemeanor—for putting the sculpture outside the painkiller palace and thus blocking traffic—and a felony, for (amicably) refusing to remove it under police orders.
Purdue Pharma issued a predictably meaningless statement in response to the installation.
“We share the protesters’ concern about the opioid crisis, and respect their right to peacefully express themselves. Purdue is committed to working collaboratively with those affected by this public health crisis on meaningful solutions to help stem the tide of opioid-related overdose deaths.”
The “Purdue” spoon remains in police custody.