Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, is dealing with a public relations crisis. An artist and gallery owner left a 10-foot long heroin spoon sculpture at their headquarters for their role in spreading the opioid addiction epidemic. The Connecticut gallery owner says he plans to “gift” more spoons to other prescription drug makers that have fueled the addiction crisis, along with giving the spoons to certain politicians and doctors that he says are complicit.
The almost 800-pound sculpture was originally created by Boston-based artist Domenic Esposito, and the whole piece was hand-made to look extremely real. The bent spoon signifies darkness and addiction, as many addicts bend spoons to be able to “cook” heroin and other drugs in them, in preparation for injection.
Massive Heroin Spoon Left at OxyContin Maker Headquarters
The artist’s and gallery owner’s name behind the whole ordeal is Fernando Luis Alvarez, and as a result of the publicity stunt, he was charged by police with both a misdemeanor and felony because he refused to remove the heroin spoon from Purdue Pharma property. Alvarez told TIME Magazine that his goal is to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic, and the role prescription drug companies like Purdue played in marketing strong opioids like OxyContin with little oversight.
Alvarez explains his goal for leaving the 10-foot heroin spoon sculpture at the OxyContin makers’ headquarters as:
The justice department and the country has to start putting some of these people behind bars, because they go on and make a lot of money and then they pay a fine and so be it. That is just not the way it should be.
For many years Purdue Pharma has drawn scrutiny and public anger because of their intense push to market OxyContin to doctors and patients. This opioid-based drug got countless Americans hooked on opiates in the mid to late 2000s. Many of them moved on to using heroin because it was cheaper and even more powerful, creating a cycle of addiction that often ends in an overdose.
Many heroin addicts first get their state of drug abuse by getting hooked on prescription painkillers, and those come from doctors that prescribe them for a variety of reasons. Reflecting on his stunt, Alvarez says he is not concerned with the potential criminal repercussions of his actions:
I’ll take the hit. I’ll take the charges. When I represent an artist, I’m all in. I was just laser-sharp focused in seeing that sculpture there and making sure society and the media would actually get our movement going, with that spoon being a symbol of the true accountability and the true conversations we need to be having about this.
Now that the opioid addiction crisis is no longer being ignored by health and government officials, more addicts are getting the help they need. The more awareness we raise about the issue, the better the outcome for recovery becomes. Recreate Life Counseling offers a solution-focused and evidence-based approach to treating addiction. Our comprehensive drug and alcohol rehab centers are located in Boynton Beach, Florida.