Topic

Opioid Crisis

43 petitions

Update posted 9 hours ago

Petition to David J. Skorton, Donald J. Trump, Julissa Marenco

Tell the Smithsonian: Rename the Sackler Gallery. Take the blood money out of our museums.

The Sackler Family founded Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactured OxyContin. You may not have heard of them, but you’ve definitely heard of Oxy. That’s the opioid painkiller that has decimated American families, towns, and communities. Purdue Pharma pumped Oxy into doctor’s offices and pharmacies. They lied about how addictive the drug was, recruited doctors to give more pills, and tried to cover up the devastating effects of their greed. Purdue pled guilty in 2007 to criminal charges for knowingly misrepresenting the risks of OxyContin and lying to the medical community. They paid over $630 million in fines and three top executives were convicted of criminal charges. Yet, they continued to push OxyContin to doctors and flood the market with highly addictive, lethal pills. And the Sacklers keep pretending that they have nothing to do with it. Purdue’s pills helped create a national health crisis that kills one person every four minutes. Now, the Sackler family, who took huge profits from OxyContin, is trying to buy our cultural institutions. Huge donations to galleries, theaters, and museums are intended to cover up the Sackler’s shame and make them look like heroes. They’re not. The Sacklers have tried to dodge responsibility and spin themselves into the role of “corporate saviors,” there can be no doubt that they profited from making us sick. When you walk through a gallery funded by the Sackler family, you’re walking through a cemetery. The Sacklers’ fortune comes from a company that manufactured a lethal epidemic that’s killing an entire generation of Americans. Their greed impacts our families, our economy, and our future in ways that won’t be apparent for decades. The Sacklers made billions of dollars while we buried the people we love most. They, and Purdue Pharma, owe the American people reparations. They owe an apology. Putting their name on art that belongs to all of us is shameful. They have no right to play the philanthropist when they’ve profited from killing us. Add your name to our petition to get the Sackler name out of our galleries and into court. Art curators and foundations should take the Sackler name off our buildings—or divest from the blood money the Sacklers donated.

Ryan Hampton
2,541 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Pennsylvania State House, Pennsylvania State Senate

Decriminalize safety and prevent overdose deaths in Pennsylvania

If we ever want to see the end of the overdose crisis in Pennsylvania, we need to treat it as a public health issue, and take steps to protect those most affected.  The first step is removing syringes and drug testing materials from the definition of “drug paraphernalia” in the Section 2 definitions of PA’s Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act of 1992, therefore making them more readily available for public use.  If we want to solve the overdose crisis, we must amend and change the law which is perpetuating the problem. Pennsylvania is experiencing a public health crisis of epic proportions due to the rapidly rising rates of overdose deaths as well as HIV and Hepatitis C infections.  Everyday in Pennsylvania, more than 17 people contract Hepatitis C, and more than 10 people die of an overdose. Pennsylvania has the fourth-highest overdose death rate in the United States, shown through preliminary data which counts 5,260 fatal drug overdoses in 2017—a nearly 15-percent increase from the previous year. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared a disaster emergency for the opioid crisis, the Commonwealth’s first public health disaster emergency in history. "I don't take this action lightly. We know that this crisis has taken far too many lives. It has broken far too many families. It has decimated far too many communities and it has gone on for far too long," Wolf said.  While we are grateful the governor is recognizing the severity of the issue, it is time for our leaders to do more. A recent analysis of opioid-related overdose deaths found that extremely strong synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, have surpassed prescription opioids as the most common drug involved in fatal overdoses in the United States. However, opioids are no longer the only substances in which fentanyl is showing up; it has also been found recently in cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, and other drugs, meaning all people who use drugs could be at risk. As the prevalence of fentanyl and its involvement in accidental overdoses continues to rise in Pennsylvania, it is paramount for people who use drugs to have the ability to know the contents of the substances they use, and exercise their own bodily autonomy through making informed decisions regarding the risks associated with such substances. If someone knew their substances were tainted with deadly synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, such information could save their life.  However, it is impossible to know if there is fentanyl in the substance they are about to use without access to fentanyl testing strips. Testing materials are a public health resource, which can curb preventable overdose deaths. Therefore, continuing to criminalize testing materials directly contributes to the growing  overdose crisis in Pennsylvania. Additionally, it is paramount to expand access to sterile syringes, which would significantly decrease substance users’ chances of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and blood-borne illnesses. Syringe Exchange Programs in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have already made tremendous strides in mitigating the effects of the opioid crisis, including reducing HIV rates, connecting people to treatment, and preventing overdose deaths through naloxone programs.  With Hepatitis C on the brink of an outbreak, now is the time to decriminalize syringes by removing them from Pennsylvania’s legal definition of “drug paraphernalia”, and deregulate their sale to the public.While reforming state-wide laws is a complex process, we know that altering the definition of paraphernalia under PA law is the first step in the process. In doing so, we will form relationships with lawmakers and enforcement agencies who will work to bring these changes to fruition.  People who use drugs are not the only ones being affected by the criminalization of syringes and drug testing materials. Since syringes are illegal, people who use them often discard them in dangerous ways. This includes disposing of them in parks and other public areas around their communities. This type of disposal places law enforcement and the public at large in danger of needlestick exposure, and possibly exposure to needles carrying HIV or Hepatitis C.  However, drug use will continue to occur despite the ongoing criminalization of people who use drugs.  Given this reality, responses which are centered around the health of the public will best  minimize the harmful effects of drug use, and keep substance users alive and available for treatment. Have you lost a loved one to an overdose? To an HIV or Hepatitis C infection? Have you almost lost someone? Has it almost been you? Our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, and colleagues do not have to live knowing the contents of the substances that they use could unexpectedly take their life one day, nor do they have to live in fear of contracting HIV or Hepatitis C. We cannot take back the countless lives already claimed by this crisis, but we can prevent more loved ones from dying.  There is a way to start solving the overdose crisis, and it starts with you.   Please, join us in telling Pennsylvania’s congress that we demand they must act now to decriminalize syringes and drug testing materials, and remove them from the legal definition of “drug paraphernalia” in Pennsylvania, before more lives are lost to the overdose crisis.  

Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Pitt
583 supporters