Spoon Movement comes to Beacon Hill
Heroin sculpture draws attention to pharma 'lies, deception'
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
PASSERBY GAWKED as the men pulled a ramp down from the back of a U-Haul truck parked on a Beacon Street curb Friday morning and began to unload a large, strangely shaped object onto the sidewalk.
Not until the men wheeled the silver sculpture, bent in some places and stained brown in others, down the ramp and over to the steps in front of the State House was it evident what the men had delivered: an 11-foot, 800-pound sculpture of a burnt heroin spoon, meant as a dark symbol of the opioid epidemic and as a gift to Attorney General Maura Healey.
The sculpture, the work of sculptor and Westwood native Domenic Esposito, was dropped in June outside the Connecticut headquarters of Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, to call attention to the pharmaceutical industry’s role in getting people hooked on opioid painkillers that can often lead to addiction and other drugs like heroin.
The Spoon Movement was co-founded by Alvarez and Esposito to draw attention to pharmaceutical companies they say are the “architects of the national opioid crisis” and to recognize public officials who are working to fight the epidemic.
Alvarez and Esposito chose Healey as the recipient of the first spoon in large part due to her lawsuit filed in June against Purdue that lists as defendants 16 current and former CEOs and board members at the Connecticut-based drug company. They said her suit takes the right approach because it seeks to hold individuals, not just the corporation, accountable.
“Our intention was always to gift the spoon to a city or a person who has been in the trenches on this with us,” Esposito said. “Maura Healey epitomizes that. She has one of the strongest lawsuits in the nation.”
Healey’s suit, filed in June in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that Purdue Pharma and its executives “engaged in a deadly, deceptive scheme to sell opioids in Massachusetts” and profited from the drug epidemic they helped create. Her office said the company has sold more than 70 million doses of prescription opioids OxyContin, Butrans and Hysingla in Massachusetts since 2008, generating more than $500 million in revenue.
Alvarez said he hopes other state attorneys general will pay attention to how Healey is approaching the lawsuit and “take the model from Massachusetts, adapt it and go on their own.”
Healey was not present Friday morning to accept her burnt heroin spoon honor. Esposito, the sculptor, plans to bring the art back to his studio until the attorney general decides where she would like the sculpture displayed.
For Alvarez, co-founding the Spoon Movement was just “the right thing to do” in response to a crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives across the country.
Healey’s office was not available for comment.