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Louvre museum removes Sackler name amid opioid controversy

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The Louvre museum in Paris has removed the name of the Sackler family from one of its wings, amid a controversy that has seen the billionaire donors accused of pushing a highly-addictive opioid blamed for tens of thousands of deaths.

An AFP reporter on Wednesday saw that masking tape had been put in place to hide the Sackler name on plaques in the rooms of what had been the Sackler Wing of Oriental Antiquities, which houses artefacts from the ancient Near East.

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A museum spokesperson could not say when the tape had been put in place. The wing had been given the name due to a $3.6 million donation made by the Sackler family in 1996.

Louvre president Jean-Luc Martinez said on RTL television on Tuesday that the rooms no longer carried the name as such a tribute lasted a maximum of 20 years after the donation.

This would mean that the Sackler wing should not have been named after the family for several years. But the Louvre spokesperson declined to comment when asked why the name had not been removed three years ago.

American group PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), backed by American photographer Nancy Goldin, a former opioid addict, had urged the museum to rename the Sackler Wing.

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The Louvre was the latest in a string of museums to face criticism over links to the Sackler family and their company Purdue Pharma, whose painkiller OxyContin is now subject to more than 1,000 lawsuits over its role in the US opioid crisis.

In recent months, galleries including New York’s Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum, and London’s Tate and National Portrait Gallery, said they would stop accepting donations from the family.

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But the Louvre is believed to be the first to actually remove the name, a move welcomed by a PAIN spokesperson while noting that the museum appeared unwilling to publicize it.

In 2017, 47,000 people died in the United States as a result of overdosing on opioids including prescription drugs, heroin and fentanyl, the Centers for Disease Control says.

There are hundreds of lawsuits in various US states against both Purdue and its owner the Sackler family, who are accused of pushing for the prescription of OxyContin despite knowing how addictive it is.

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But worries about the medication are not confined to the US.

Last month, around 100 French doctors warned about the risk of a health crisis claiming there were “12 million people in France taking opioids” who had not been told about the potential for addiction and risk of overdose.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Humanitarian volunteer says he won’t be deterred after facing charges in Arizona for helping migrants

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We broadcast live from Tucson, Arizona, where the government recently put humanitarian activist Scott Warren on trial amid the ongoing policing of the U.S.-Mexico border, separation of families, and cruel and inhumane conditions at immigrant jails across the country. Warren, a longtime volunteer with the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, was charged with three felony counts for his alleged crime of providing food, water and shelter to migrants in Ajo, Arizona. The immigrants had arrived at the doorstep of a humanitarian shelter after a perilous journey across the Sonoran Desert. At the same time, he and other volunteers also faced separate misdemeanor charges for leaving water jugs and food for migrants on a national wildlife refuge in the remote desert. The trial took eight days, and after hours of deliberation, the jury returned without a verdict. Eight found Scott Warren not guilty; the remaining four said he was. The government will now retry Warren in November. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. As he awaits his next trial, Scott Warren met us in the remote town of Ajo, Arizona, this weekend for his first trip in a year to leave water and food for migrants in the desert.

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Trump’s economic adviser doesn’t see a recession coming — but he said the same thing in 2008

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President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser insists there are no signs of a recession on the horizon -- but he's been staggeringly wrong before.

Larry Kudlow went on NBC's "Meet the Press" over the weekend to assure viewers that no economic downturn was coming, but the Washington Post's Aaron Blake pointed out that his track record for predictions was pitiful.

“Well, I’ll tell you what: I sure don’t see a recession,” Kudlow told host Chuck Todd. “So I think actually the second half, the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”

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Controversial study links fluoride in water to lower IQ

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A study published Monday links exposure to fluoridated tap water during pregnancy to lower IQ scores in infants, but several outside experts expressed concern over its methodology and questioned its findings.

Fluoride has been added to community water supplies in industrial countries to prevent tooth decay since the 1950s.

Very high levels of the mineral have been found to be toxic to the brain, though the concentrations seen in fluoridated tap water are generally deemed safe.

"We realized that there were major questions about the safety of fluoride, especially for pregnant women and young children," Christine Till at Canada's York University, senior author of the paper published in JAMA Pediatrics, told AFP.

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