Father who lost son to addiction wants justice from Sackler family, owners of OxyContin makers

Family behind OxyContin faces lawsuit
Family behind OxyContin faces lawsuit 02:20

The attorney general of Massachusetts Friday pushed for the release of more documents from Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin. Several members of the billionaire family that owns Purdue are accused of marketing the drug, despite knowing how addictive it can be.

Anthony LaGreca remembers his son's long struggle with prescription opioids that ended his life in 2014.

"In the end there was like, no one would even speak to him but me," LaGreca said.

He said his son's addiction started with just a single bottle of OxyContin.

"People say, if used as directed, well the drug abuses the patient because the drug is what takes control of their brain," LaGreca said.

A Massachusetts lawsuit is the first to name some of Purdue Pharma's owners, including members of the Sackler family, claiming they participated in "a deadly and illegal scheme." The lawsuit cites portions of newly obtained emails and memos from then-president Richard Sackler. In one he wrote, the launch of OxyContin pills would create "a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition." In another, Mr. Sackler wrote, "we have to hammer on the abusers… they are the culprits and the problem."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said they knew the drug was addictive, but greed drove them forward.

"They don't want to accept blame for this. They blame doctors, they blame prescribers and worst of all, they blame patients," Healey said.

In a statement, Purdue calls the Massachusetts lawsuit a "rush to vilify" the drugmaker," and that it "cherry-picked from among tens of millions of emails and other business documents."

As for LaGreca, he's seen enough.

"Truthfully, I would like to see Purdue Pharma go broke," he said. "I would like to see the heirs of the Sackler family put in jail because that's where they belong."

CBS News reached out to the members of the Sackler family named in the complaint, as well as their lawyer. Three declined to comment through a press representative. CBS News never heard back from the rest.