Tufts University is removing Sackler name from all its schools and launching a new initiative to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction, the school announced in a release.
The measure was taken in response to the Sackler family members’ role in manufacturing the powerful and addictive painkiller, OxyContin by their prescription drug company, Purdue Pharma.
The university will strip Sackler’s name from the School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences; the Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education; the Sackler Laboratory for the Convergence of Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences; the Sackler Families Fund for Collaborative Cancer Biology Research; and the Richard S. Sackler, M.D. Endowed Research Fund.
“This decision also acknowledges the countless individuals and families who have suffered so much loss, harm, and sorrow as a result of the opioid crisis,” Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco said.
“And it acknowledges members of our own community who have struggled on a daily basis with the university’s very public association with the Sackler name.”
The family has been at the center of controversy since Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey claimed that family knew its painkiller was causing overdoses. Healey implicated eight Sackler family members for contributing to the opioid epidemic across the nation by marketing it so aggressively.
The university has also decided to create a $3 million endowment to support education, research, and civic engagement programs that will aim at treating and preventing substance abuse and addiction.
Earlier this year, Purdue Pharma entered in a $270 million settlement with Oklahoma State University which will use the amount to establish the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment while the remaining amount will be spent on conducting research, education, public policy initiatives and buying medicines to support the Center’s treatment mission.