Sales reps were encouraged to downplay addiction risks. Treatment comes in the form of drops of morphine pushed from a syringe into the babies’ mouths. Under the plan, the family would hand over the company to a trust controlled by the states and sell Mundipharma; the Sacklers themselves would foot $3 billion, though they continue to deny responsibility for the opioid crisis. It was graft.” Though offering perks and freebies to doctors was hardly uncommon in the industry, it was unprecedented in the marketing of a Schedule II narcotic. Wholesalers got rebates in exchange for keeping OxyContin off prior authorization lists. In May, a dozen lawmakers in Congress, inspired by the L.A. Times investigation, sent a bipartisan letter to the World Health Organization warning that Sackler-owned companies were preparing to flood foreign countries with legal narcotics. In a 1990 memo addressed to Richard and other executives, Purdue’s VP of clinical research, Robert Kaiko, suggested that the company work on a pill containing oxycodone, a chemical similar to morphine that was also derived from the opium poppy. After attending medical school on Arthur’s dime, Mortimer and Raymond followed him to jobs at the Creedmoor psychiatric hospital in Queens. In the past, Purdue Pharma had sought to cast the Sacklers as philanthropists who left the operations of the company to others, but the lawsuits have cast new attention on the family’s role in developing and marketing OxyContin, its company’s flagship drug. In an email exchange, Arthur’s daughter Elizabeth Sackler, a historian of feminist art who sits on the board of the Brooklyn Museum and supports a variety of progressive causes, emphatically distanced her branch of the family from her cousins’ businesses. Shawn M. Lang, who leads a statewide group on opioid overdose prevention, called on other politicians who have received donations from the Sackler family to contribute them to groups fighting addiction. "If it’s possible for folks to divest themselves from that money and do something good with it, that would be an appropriate thing to do,'' Lang said. Murphy’s spokeswoman, Laura Maloney, said Murphy donated the money to Shatterproof, a national nonprofit group that advocates for improvements in the treatment of addiction. According to Purdue, prescriptions fell 33 percent between 2012 and 2016. They got more patients on opioids, at higher doses, for longer, than ever before. Arthur was a headstrong and ambitious provider, setting the tone—and often choosing the path—for his younger brothers. A popular species of pink rose is named after a Sackler. We called it ‘Playin’ Passwords.’ ” According to Sherman, Richard started taking a more prominent role in the company during the early 1980s. Their family name is etched on plaques at museums and medical schools around the world, including Yale University, which is home to the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences. “This was pre-smartphone days,” said Riddle. After tax bills were settled, the bulk of the cash landed in two Delaware companies, Rosebay Medical Co. and Beacon Co. Two U.S. companies registered in Delaware. Tage Honore, Purdue’s vice-president of discovery of research from 2000 to 2005, described them as “like day and night.” Mortimer, said Honore, was “extroverted—a ‘world man,’ I would call it.” He acquired a reputation as a big-spending, transatlantic playboy, living most of the year in opulent homes in England, Switzerland, and France. Chronic pain is horrible. Over the years, he had won a British knighthood, been made an Officer of France’s Légion d’Honneur, and received one of the highest possible honors from the royal house of the Netherlands. On his seventieth birthday, in 1986, the museum agreed to make the Temple of Dendur available to him for a party but refused to allow him to redecorate the ancient shrine: Together with other improvements, Mortimer and his interior designer, flown in from Europe, had hoped to spiff up the temple by adding extra pillars. According to the Centers for Disease Control, fifty-three thousand Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, more than the thirty-six thousand who died in car crashes in 2015 or the thirty-five thousand who died from gun violence that year. “We used to fly doctors to these ‘seminars,’ ” said Sherman, which were, in practice, “just golf trips to Pebble Beach. The Sacklers, though, will likely emerge untouched: Because of a sweeping non-prosecution agreement negotiated during the 2007 settlement, most new criminal litigation against Purdue can only address activity that occurred after that date. Soon enough, opioid advocates dredged up a letter to the editor published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 that suggested, based on a highly unrepresentative cohort, that the risk of addiction from long-term opioid use was less than 1 percent. According to an investigation last year in the Los Angeles Times, Mundipharma, the Sackler-owned company charged with developing new markets, is employing a suite of familiar tactics in countries like Mexico, Brazil, and China to stoke concern for as-yet-unheralded “silent epidemics” of untreated pain. OxyContin’s sales started out small in 1996, in part because Purdue first focused on the cancer market to gain formulary acceptance from HMOs and state Medicaid programs. Meanwhile, the Sackler institutes at Cornell, Columbia, McGill, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sussex, and King’s College London tackle psychobiology, with an emphasis on early childhood development.