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Nan Goldin, Pain/Sackler, Royal College of Art, London, 2017.

Nan Goldin’s Activist Group Holds Sackler Family Accountable

Nan Goldin, along with a new activist group she founded called P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), launched an online petition on Friday calling for the Sackler family and their private company Purdue Pharma to atone for their involvement in the opioid crisis by funding addiction education and setting up treatment centers and public dispensers of Narcan “on every corner in America.” The Sackler family, known for its philanthropic foundation that has made large donations to arts institutions across the globe, acquired their wealth through the sale of OxyContin, a highly addictive prescription drug.

Goldin writes about establishing P.A.I.N. in this month’s issue of Artforum, in which the artist also confronts her own experiences with addiction. “I learned that the Sackler family, whose name I knew from museums and galleries, were responsible for the epidemic,” Goldin wrote. “This family formulated, marketed, and distributed OxyContin. I decided to make the private public by calling them to task.”

P.A.I.N. circulated the change.org petition through its Instagram account, @sacklerpain, and is using the hashtag #ShameOnSackler to hold the institution accountable. “We intend to put pressure on museums, art spaces, and educational institutions to refuse future donations from the Sacklers,” the petition reads. “We intend to hold the Sacklers accountable, and put social and political pressure on them to respond meaningfully to this crisis.”

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