A confidential report from the Department of Justice obtained by The New York Times shows that the drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma knew about the abuse of OxyContin "important" in its early years in the market, but stated that I had no knowledge of widespread misuse until long after it was released. After a four-year investigation, the DOJ discovered that Purdue received reports that the pills were being "squeezed and snorted"; stolen from pharmacies; and that some doctors were being accused of selling prescriptions [.] "Internal company notes show that I knew that Oxy had been sniffed and sold on the streets as early as 1997. Prosecutors from the Justice Department wrote in the 2006 report Purdue continued to market Oxy as "Less prone to abuse and addiction than other prescription opiates" when he heard reports of abuse, and also recommended that Purdue executives be "accused of serious crimes, including the conspiracy to defraud the United States. "But DOJ senior staff during the George W. Bush administration" did not support the measure "and settled with the pharmaceutical company in 2007. Documents arrive when the growing epidemic of opioids has worsened in the United States, with the rate of overdose of prescription opioids increasing more than 10 percent in 2016. .