How OxyContin was sold to the masses

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When OxyContin first came onto the market, in 1995, it was branded as a breakthrough: a powerful opioid that would revolutionize pain management while minimizing the potential for addiction. It worked out very, very differently, as vast numbers of patients became hooked and sometimes turned to cheaper alternatives on the street, like heroin. A former pharmaceutical sales rep who became a whistle-blower explains to the New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe how the marketing techniques worked. Also, a piece of theatre explores the trauma of sexual assault, which some of its cast members — all of them teen girls — have lived through. Plus, Ian Frazier visits a salad-growing inventor, and the voice of Siri gives us directions home at the end of a long night.

Illustration by Richie Pope