Recently, we examined our current files to determine the incidence of narcotic addiction in 39,946 hospitalized medical patients who were monitored consecutively. Although there were 11,882 patients who received at least one narcotic preparation, there were only four cases of reasonably well documented addiction in patients who had no history of addiction. The addiction was considered major in only one instance. The drugs implicated were meperidine in two patients, Percodan in one, and hydromorphone in one. We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.
That's a letter, quoted in total, that is basically patient zero in the flourishing of Oxycontin. At this point it's so legendary that the University of Toronto traced its citation history to measure its impact.
And while it would be super-satisfying to nail Purdue to the wall - which the feds kind of did - the fact of the matter is, it's been ten years since the overprescription of Oxycontin was addressed. The problem hasn't been solved by a longshot.
Purdue deserves a lot of blame. But not all of it.