Sackler family

Is Britain heading for an opioid crisis?

Almost everyone here that I’ve spoken to about it assumes that the opioid crisis in the United States won’t ever come to the UK. Yes, the problem there is accelerating. Drug overdose deaths in America are now at more than 100,000 a year. A few days ago the Lancet predicted 1.2 million dead by 2029 but… it couldn’t happen here. We hold up those three sacred letters — NHS — like a talisman to ward off the evil. We tut about Big Pharma and its undue influence in Washington, we remove the Sackler name from galleries and museums, and then we get back to watching America overdose on TV. The

Good things can come from guilt

I do not know anyone in the Sackler family. I wouldn’t even have heard of them were it not for recent reports of their return to the large-scale philanthropy with which their name was once associated. These reports have led to criticism of institutions that accepted Sackler charity: the well-worn argument being that the family’s businesses made a fortune from aggressively promoting the use of opioids in America, and opioids have caused serious addiction problems for millions of Americans. Sam Leith wrote thoughtfully about the controversy on the Spectator website last week (‘We should be thankful for the Sackler family’s philanthropy’). His — to me — most arresting argument is

Vital, damning docudrama about the Sacklers: Disney+’s Dopesick reviewed

One of my first jobs in journalism was as the arts correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. I’d hop on my motorbike in my greasy leathers (which I used to wear around the office, much to my then editor Max Hastings’s consternation) and zoom off to all manner of exhibition and gallery openings, many of them somehow related to the name Sackler. The Sackler family at the time were the world’s greatest arts philanthropists, with galleries and museums and rooms named after them from New York, London and Paris to the Far East. Like almost everyone, I had no idea of the source of their apparently limitless wealth. But I knew