INTERVIEW: Artist Movement Hopes to Spark Bigger Conversation About the Opioid Crisis — Using Giant 700 Pound Spoons
The Opioid Spoon Project is an artist-led movement that is hoping to spark a bigger conversation about the dark reality of the opioid crisis.
The Gateway Pundit spoke to Domenic Esposito, the Boston-based founder of the project, to learn more about what they are doing.
To raise awareness of the epidemic, the organization creates 10 foot long, metal, 700 pound sculptures of the sort of spoon that addicts use to cook heroin before injecting it.
The Opioid Spoon Project has primarily been taking aim at the Sackler family — for now.
In 2007, months after pleading guilty to criminal charges that the Sackler family company, Purdue Pharma, had mismarketed OxyContin, the Sackler’s founded another company called Rhodes Pharma. Rhodes produces generic opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone. According to a report from the Financial Times, between the Rhodes and Purdue, the Sackler family is responsible for approximately 6% of all opioid prescriptions nationwide.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 80% of heroin addicts first started by using opioids.
Last year, the Opioid Spoon Project left one of their sculptures in front of the offices of Purdue. Earlier this month, they left one outside Rhodes.
Speaking to the Gateway Pundit, Esposito said that the spoon project began, in terms of construction, in April of last year. Each spoon takes approximately six weeks to create.
When asked what motivated him to begin this project, Esposito explained that it was “a lot of things — but primarily my brother.”
“My brother has been dealing with opioid addiction for the last 12 years,” Esposito said. “It was a way to bring awareness to the disease — but also a way to bring awareness to the parties that are accountable for it. For me, this is a man-made epidemic.”
Esposito said that the project is “so much work,” but that it is all worth it. He said that there have been so many people supporting the effort that it has been incredibly moving. He currently has a large group of volunteers working together to create reports, assist with the sculpting, and other tasks involved with the movement.
Discussing what he would like to see happen to help stop this crisis — Esposito explained that there are two sides to it.
“The first part is moving towards accountability. It’s kind of cutting the head off the snake,” Esposito said. “For me that snake is Big Pharma. We need to hold those companies and executives accountable — whether it’s through fines or jail time — for what they have done for the past 25 years at the expense of human lives.”
The second side, Esposito explained, “is a tough one, because the epidemic is so wide-spread.”
“There are so many issues that I see with my brother — there’s not enough care out there, not enough recovery centers,” Esposito said. “There’s also the whole issue with incarceration. If someone gets arrested for drugs, when they get out there really is not a lot to help them with the transition.”
In reality, there are so many issues at play in the opioid crisis, Esposito explained, that it is hard to pinpoint one single piece of legislation or program that would help to stop it. It needs to be tackled from multiple angles.
“For us, we are trying to hold these corporations accountable and pushing for the guidelines for getting opioids are given another look,” he said.
Esposito told the Gateway Pundit that there are more spoon drops planned for the future — and that they have a huge list of companies and people responsible that need to be shamed beyond the Sackler family.
The Opioid Spoon Project is in the process of applying for 501C3 status, to become a nonprofit. When that happens, that will allow them to begin accepting sponsorships. He said there has been a huge amount of interest from people who want to donate either time or money, but they want to make sure they do things right.
“There’s just so much fraud out there with people raising money,” Esposito laughed. “I don’t want to be seen like that. I want to make sure this is done right. We’ve done such a great job so far that I want to continue to uphold our moral and ethical standards.”
Esposito said that they are thinking about creating art to raise money that way, to help fund continuing the spoon installations.