Yale Law School graduate JD Vance’s opioid charity less for helping people, more for parroting Big Pharma

JD Vance (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Yale Law School graduate JD Vance’s founding of “Our Ohio Renewal,” a charity designed to address the opioid crisis, seems like the best thing about him. (Because it’s certainly not selling his family as fodder for Hillbilly Elegy or his Peter Thiel-endorsed policy, which he hopes will land him in the Senate in November.) But then you learn that it doesn’t. wasn’t a very good charity – The Associated Press reports on the “lack of tangible successes” for the organization.

And the one solid thing the now-shutdown charity did – send a doctor to a year-long residency in Ohio’s Appalachian region – was “tainted” by the doctor’s (and his employer) with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin.

[Dr. Sally Satel’s] a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute whose writings questioning the role of prescription painkillers in the national opioid crisis appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere before she began residency in the fall of 2018 .

Documents and emails obtained by ProPublica for a 2019 investigation revealed that Satel, a senior researcher at AEI, sometimes cited Purdue-funded studies and doctors in her addiction articles for major news outlets and shared sometimes advance drafts of articles with Purdue officials. including on some occasions in 2004 and 2016. Over the years, according to the report, AEI has received regular donations of $50,000 and other financial support from Purdue totaling $800,000.

Even absent the money line, an opioid denier who disputes the link between prescription painkillers and drug addiction is *not* the person who should be hired to solve the crisis of dope.

But Vance’s campaign denies knowledge of the connection:

“JD didn’t know it at the time, but remains proud of his work to treat patients, especially those in an area of ​​Ohio who needed it the most,” the campaign said in a statement.

So… he’s just bad at research? How is that supposed to make someone feel better about potentially taking on the role of senator? Because Satel currently says, “The data is quite clear that declining opioid prescribing had no effect on the overall rate of opioid overdose.” And dating back to 2004, it’s a position she’s knocked down for, multiple times.

It’s a familiar position for Satel, whose opinion columns in national publications included a October 2004 Times article“Doctors behind bars: Treating pain is now a risky business”, a February 2018 Politico Article“The Myth of What’s Driving the Opioid Crisis – Doctor Prescribed Painkillers Aren’t the Biggest Threat” and the March 2018 Slate article“Pill limits are not a smart way to tackle the opioid crisis.”

Satel also denies being paid to regurgitate Big Pharma’s arguments (even though it did).

In an email to the AP this week, Satel said she “never consulted” or “took a dime from Purdue” and was unaware that Purdue had donated money to the AEI because the institute maintains a firewall between its researchers. and donors. She said she relied “entirely on my own experience as a psychiatrist and/or data to form an opinion.”

Regardless of what Vance knew — or should have known — that’s still fodder for his opponent in the upcoming Senate election.

It’s a pretty direct attack. You like to see it.


Kathryn Rubino is an editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot Podcastand co-host of Think like a lawyer. AtL’s tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

Jon J. Epps