Obama, Macklemore Discuss Opioid Addiction Epidemic

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Obama, Macklemore Discuss Opioid Addiction Epidemic

President Obama and Seattle hip hop artist Macklemore met yesterday to candidly discuss the opioid prescription painkiller epidemic currently affect the entire U.S.

President Obama:

“Addiction doesn’t always start in some dark alley — it often starts in a medicine cabinet.”

Obama noted that we can help those who are privately suffering by bringing the conversation public. He believes that treatment should be available to anyone who needs it – and although Congress passed bills on opioids this past week, without more funding these bills will just not be able to do enough.

“I’ve asked Congress to expand access to recovery services, and to give first responders the tools they need to treat overdoses before it’s too late. This week, the House passed several bills about opioids – but unless they also make actual investments in more treatment, it won’t get Americans the help they need,” he said.

“On top of funding, doctors also need more training about the power of the pain medication they prescribe, and the risks they carry.”

He further stressed that the epidemic is a public health problem, and needs to be treated as such in order for people to get the help they need.

Macklemore, who had his own experiences with drugs and addiction, talked about his life after recovery, and a friend, Kevin, who died from an overdose of prescription drugs at age 21.


“I’m here with President Obama because I take this personally. I abused prescription drugs and battled addiction. If I hadn’t gotten the help I needed when I needed it, I might not be here today.”

“Addiction is like any other disease – it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what color you are, whether you’re a guy or a girl, rich or poor, whether you live in the inner-city, a suburb, or rural America. This doesn’t just happen to other people’s kids or in some other neighborhood. It can happen to any of us.”

Macklemore, 32, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, has been frank about his prescription drug addiction and alcoholism. He was arrested at 15 and ended up in King County Juvenile Drug Court. He entered a rehab facility in 2008.

According to a White House statement, the video comes in conjunction with the president’s call to Congress “to pass the $1.1 billion in new funding in his Budget to make sure that every American with an opioid use disorder who wants treatment can get the help they need.”

The conversation between Obama and Macklemore on opioid addiction — and what can be done to confront the problem — will air on MTV this summer.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

Related: Common Misconceptions About Women And Alcohol Abuse

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