Nan Goldin was arrested along with 12 other members of PAIN, the activist group she founded to protest the opioid crisis, while protesting outside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in Manhattan on Wednesday.
According to ARTnews, the protests were intended to raise awareness for the number of deaths by overdosing on opioid and prescription drugs that take over 130 lives every day in the U.S. Goldin, who has been an outspoken former user, called on the governor to open overdose protection centers that would allow users to take drugs in controlled environments, under the supervision of medical officials.
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Since Governor Andrew Cuomo took office, approximately 20,000 New Yorkers have died from substance use overdose. Today, 200 members of @housingworks, @vocalnewyork, PAIN, and others turned out to the Governor's NYC office to demand he take action and authorize policies that could save the lives of thousands upon thousands of our family members, friends and loved ones. Thirteen people, including @nangoldinstudio, put their bodies on the line and were arrested to show that too many people have been lost and it's time for the Governor to make a real change. ⠀ SAFE CONSUMPTION SAVES LIVES. TAKE ACTION NOW!! pics 1&2 by artforum, pic 3 by edith taichmann #EndOverdoseNY #OverdoseAwarenessDay #IOAD #EndOverdoseNow #NotOneMore
A post from PAIN on Instagram showing the arrests: “Thirteen people, including @nangoldinstudio, put their bodies on the line and were arrested to show that too many people have been lost and it’s time for the Governor to make a real change. SAFE CONSUMPTION SAVES LIVES. TAKE ACTION NOW.”
Despite Governor Cuomo speaking openly and acknowledging the opioid deaths, protesters maintain that he has not taken enough action to fight the issue. Founded in 2017, PAIN is a group founded by Goldin that focuses on direct action against the Sackler family, who owns Purdue Pharma, maker of epidemic-linked opioid drug Oxycontin. Much of PAIN’s protests has been targeting major art institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Tate, and even the Louvre, to urge them from dropping the Sacklers as donors and refuse their money. Their protests have resulted in many museums to comply and stop accepting donations from the Sacklers.