800 Pound Heroin Spoon Placed in Front of Purdue Pharma’s Headquarters
The opioid epidemic has left so much wreckage in its wake, it’s almost inconceivable. Nearly 15 years ago when I first noticed the popularity of painkillers, I never could have imagined the chaos that would follow the growing obsession with those little blue pills. Oxycontin seemed to flood towns across America overnight. More and more doctors began prescribing the drug and more and more people got hooked. And as more people found themselves in the grip of opioid addiction, the demand for oxy skyrocketed. Whether getting them from the doctor or stealing them from family member’s medicine cabinet, people across the U.S. had found their new “miracle cure” for all their problems. But the doctors won’t prescribe you the drug forever and you can only steal so much from friends and family, so what do you do to keep the withdrawals away? Hit the streets, find a dealer, and pay $1 per milligram. Oxycontin became an extremely expensive habit for addicts and profitable beyond comprehension for not only the dealers but also for the company partly responsible for this mess, Purdue Pharma. The pharmaceutical giant has long been blamed for the creation of the opioid crisis through misleading marketing practices and recently, protesters have taken an artistic approach to voicing their concern.
In Stamford, Connecticut art gallery owner Fernando Alvarez and artist Domenic Esposito helped to drop off an 800 pound and nearly 11-foot-long steel sculpture of a burnt and bent heroin spoon as a way of voicing their concern about Purdue Pharma’s role in the current heroin epidemic. Domenic and his family hail from Westwood, Massachusetts and have struggled with his brother’s heroin addiction for years. The inspiration for the sculpture came from his mother’s screams after having found another bent spoon his brother had used to cook his heroin. Esposito said, “This is just a movement for accountability. Percocet and OxyContin are still all over the streets. Nothing’s changed. People are still dying. … It’s also a calling for the federal government to step in and do something.” The sculpture has since been removed by city workers and placed in the custody of local police.
While an extreme way to voice disdain for the opioid crisis, I think it probably hit home with a lot of people. Anyone who knows a heroin addict knows about burnt spoons and all tears and heartache that come with them. The opioid crisis is extreme and so are the reactions to it. It’s life-shattering to lose a child to addiction and too many families, unfortunately, know what that feels like. Taking a stand against Big Pharma can be done in many different ways, shapes, and forms. This one just so happens to take an artistic approach to it. And I think it’s great. I think it’s great that someone took the time, energy, and creativity to depict the very thing that’s tearing our country apart and placing it right in front of the company believed to be responsible for it.