Artist drops giant heroin spoon in front of Coventry drug company


    Artist Domenic Esposito stands with his sculpture of a giant heroin spoon outside the entrance to Rhodes Pharmaceuticals in Coventry, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (WJAR)

    An artist took his protest against the opioid crisis and the pharmaceutical industry to Coventry on Thursday morning -- in the shape of a giant spoon.

    Domenic Esposito dropped a 10-foot, 800-pound sculpture of a heroin spoon on the sidewalk in front of Rhodes Pharmaceuticals.

    "My talent is art and metal working. That's what I love to do. I'm using that talent to try and bring awareness and accountability to the opioid crisis," said Esposito, who's based in Boston.

    Esposito said he feels big pharma as a whole has played a major role in the ongoing opioid epidemic.

    Rhodes Pharmaceuticals' website lists the drugs it manufactures, including opioid pain killer oxycodone hydrochloride.

    Some in the pharmaceutical industry are accused of over-prescribing drugs and profiting from them. The spoon sculpture resembles what heroin addicts often use before injecting.

    "My brother has been battling this addiction for the last 12 years," Esposito said.

    That's the inspiration behind Esposito's initiative known as The Opioid Spoon Project.

    "This is a huge problem in this country, and we're not going to fix it by just dropping a spoon," Esposito said. "We're just raising awareness out there."

    This is not the first time Esposito has done this in protest of pharmaceutical companies. Esposito's first spoon drop was with a different but similar sculpture in front of Purdue Pharma in Connecticut in June.

    Coventry police said because the spoon was on a sidewalk considered public space, there weren't any issues and the sculpture was taken away after about 90 minutes.

    "It's just ridiculous, the extent of which these drugs are being prescribed in this country," Esposito said.

    Rhodes Pharmaceuticals did not immediately respond to NBC 10's request for comment.

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