Opioid epidemic

New court documents show former Purdue Pharma chief's role in marketing OxyContin

Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut
Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New court records reviewed by Stat show how Richard Sackler, a former executive at Purdue Pharma, guided the company's promotional strategy for the launch of its opioid pain medication OxyContin.

Why it matters: Sackler's family founded and controls Purdue Pharma. The company in 2007 pleaded guilty to a felony related to falsely promoting OxyContin as less addictive and not as likely to produce tolerance or symptoms of withdrawal than other pain medications, even though the drugs is twice as strong as morphine. More than 218,000 Americans have died from overdoses of all prescription opioids.

MLB weighs new opioid testing policy for players

Tyler Skaggs pitching for the LA Angels
Tyler Skaggs died at age 27 in July from opioid-related causes. Photo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Major League Baseball players could be randomly tested for the first time for opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl as the sport grapples with how to address the opioid epidemic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Professional athletes, who are especially prone to injury, risk greater exposure and addiction to opioids due to pain management. The discussions between the league and its players' union were prompted by the July death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who had oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol in his system.

Go deeper: Where the major sports leagues stand on weed