"Heroin Spoon" Art Exhibit Re-Emerges In Boston

By Victoria Kim 10/30/18

The artwork was placed as a “gift” to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey outside of the State House.

heroin spoon sculpture outside of Purdue Pharma
The sculpture outside of Purdue Pharma Photo via YouTube

The massive, 800-pound “heroin spoon” sculpture has re-emerged.

This past June, the guerrilla art exhibit sat in front of Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, for about two hours before it was hauled away by city workers.

The spoon appears burnt and bent at the handle. The artist, Domenic Esposito, said the purpose of the massive symbol is to “protest and hold accountable the people who in our minds have created this epidemic that has killed close to 300,000 people.” Purdue Pharma is the maker of OxyContin.

Gallery owner Fernando Louis Alvarez was arrested and charged with obstruction of free passage, a criminal misdemeanor. But a judge has since agreed to erase the charge from his record upon completion of one year’s probation.

Last Friday (Oct. 26), the 10.5-foot-long sculpture re-appeared in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. But this time, the artwork was placed as a “gift” to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey for her efforts in holding Big Pharma accountable for its part in fueling the opioid crisis.

In June, the state of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, accusing the company of recklessly promoting its opioid painkillers "without regard to the very real risks of addiction, overdose and death.”

The lawsuit is the first in the U.S. to name company executives. Many other states, cities and counties have sued Purdue Pharma as well.

“Purdue peddled falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives,” Healey stated in her complaint. “Even when Purdue knew people were addicted and dying, Purdue treated the patients and their doctors as ‘targets’ to sell more drugs.”

A group of mothers who have lost children to drug overdose peacefully rallied beside the spoon sculpture on Friday.

The artist Esposito has personally been affected by the opioid crisis. He described the toll that his brother Danny’s nearly 14-year addiction to heroin, which began with OxyContin and Percocet, had on his family.

“My mom would call me in a panic… screaming she found another burnt spoon. This is a story thousands of families go through. He’s lucky to be alive,” he said according to the Hartford Courant.

“The spoon has always been an albatross for my family,” he added. “It’s kind of an emotional symbol, a dark symbol for me.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr