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Kara Trainor composed herself, looked into a camera and began to speak to the drugmakers she holds responsible for two decades of suffering that has extended from her to a son born dependent on opioids.

Three members of the family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma watched silently or listened to the virtual court hearing as Trainor described giving birth to a baby who rapidly plunged into withdrawal — “the screaming will haunt you for the rest of your life” — and what it’s been like to raise him. At 11, he still uses a sippy cup and diapers.

Trainor and others who have suffered from or lost relatives to opioid addiction had waited years for this moment: a direct, if virtual, confrontation with members of the Sackler family in court over the consequences of the painkiller that made them a fortune while helping fuel a deadly drug epidemic. The opportunity finally came for about two dozen victims or their relatives at an extraordinary bankruptcy court hearing Thursday.

Some emerged exhausted, others angry, others relieved, and all unsure whether the Sacklers, who weren’t allowed to respond during the session, had been moved. Still, several people who gave statements said they valued being able to speak for their lost loved ones and show solidarity, and that they had gotten a grain of resolution.


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