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The documentary opens with multi-platinum selling musician Macklemore addressing himself as an addict.  He states that he’s in recovery, but has faced relapses, just like so many others.  Over two million Americans struggle with opioid addiction, and it is the largest addiction crisis ever in America.  He asks the following questions: How do we address this problem?  How can an addict get help? How can family and friends support? What should the government do?  Macklemore, real name Ben Haggerty, is attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting.  One girl shares that she started using opioids in fifth grade after finding them in her mother’s medicine cabinet.  Another shares how he was injured playing sports and was prescribed painkillers and his addiction started there.  Today in America many more stories similar to these are being told.  The opioid crisis is hitting the US, and hard.  Now, people are starting to realize more that addiction is a disease, and not just limited to the inner cities.

Macklemore’s Spin On America’s Latest ‘Drug Dealer.’

One of Macklemore’s latest videos, Drug Dealer, talks about the money to be made in pharmaceuticals and describes the gripping effects of addiction and withdrawal.  Singer Ariana DeBoo is shown being covered in pills, almost drowning in them as she sings the chorus,

“My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor

Had the plug from big Pharma, Pharma

He said that he would heal me, heal me

But he only gave me problems, problems…”

He describes seeing his friends turn gray and bleeding, in other words, overdosing from opioids. He goes on to say how this problem has gone from the cities to the suburbs, making it everyone’s problem.  Powerful imagery and strong lyrics have placed this video front and center on social media.

The President & Multi-Platinum Artist Discuss The Opioid Crisis

Throughout his career, Macklemore has been open with his personal struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, and he spoke with President Obama about the opioid crisis that the country is facing.  The President disclosed that he himself had many friends that struggled with opioid addiction and recovery, and that more and more Americans are dying from this opioid crisis.  He talks about conversations he’s had with high school athletes who started using painkillers after an injury and had it spiral out of control. President Obama said that the system needs to be able to help people when they need it, and it needs to be more accessible to those in rural areas.  At this time, it can take months to get into a rehabilitation facility.  That is simply too late for many people. They discuss the stigma that surrounds addiction, and the need to overcome this and let people know that addiction is not a sign of weakness. It is a disease, and no one is immune to it.  We’re all capable of reaching that dark place, and it’s important for people to share their stories and let others know that they’re not alone.  President Obama went on to say that treating drug addiction as a criminal problem instead of a public health problem needs to change.  More resources need to be utilized to help people receive treatment, not jail time, which has been the rule of thumb for so long.

Back at the Narcotics Anonymous meeting, one girl in the group, Lindsey, shares the start of her addiction as being prescribed Vicodin at age twelve.  She moved on to heroin and within months lost everything, including custody of her child.  Once she made the decision to get clean, she entered into a detox program and went on to find a nonprofit called Hope Soldiers.  The organization helps those without resources to get and stay sober.  Throughout her day, Lindsay and a friend go around town to places where addicts may be hanging out, and offer them food and other resources.  She stresses how important it is for addicts to know that they’re not alone, and to show compassion.  Lindsey’s friend Alaina is at the meeting with her and she shares her story for the first time.  Alaina is with Lindsey as she goes around town helping people, but this isn’t enough to keep her clean.  She relapses on the day of her doctor’s appointment and ends up in the emergency room. Her mother tells the cameras how she’s tried everything to help her daughter seek help, but she’s afraid that she’ll end up burying her soon.   She agrees to enter a treatment program soon after her relapse.  This will have been her third time in treatment, and her mother and Lindsey both hope that this time she’ll remain clean.

How Did The Opioid Crisis Start And How Do We Fight Back?

If these drugs are so dangerous, why have they been prescribed so much?  It started years ago with the company Purdue Pharma, who held the patent on OxyContin until 2013.  They spent millions of dollars persuading doctors and patients that their synthetic heroin was safe, and made billions in profit.  As the President said during his conversation with Macklemore, it is cheaper to provide a bottle of pain pills for minor injuries than to physically rehabilitate them, so the number of prescriptions steadily rose over the past twenty years, starting what is now an opioid crisis.  Because of the way the drug works on receptors in the brain, use of opioids can actually train your brain into thinking you need them for survival, like food and water.  This is how people become addicted so quickly.

At the end of the video, Macklemore says the following: “It’s time that we end our opioid problem.  We need big pharma to be honest about the products they’re selling us.  We need doctors to prescribe opioids only when they’re absolutely necessary.   We need to think of addiction as a treatable medical condition so people can openly ask for help like they would for any illness. We need to improve treatment so it’s scientific and long-term.  We need to shift money away from incarceration and into expanding treatment, so everyone has access as soon as they need it.” If you would like to watch the documentary on America’s opioid crisis in its entirety, please visit

Contact Clearbrook Today

As you can tell, America’s opioid crisis is truly that, an epidemic. Every day, roughly 80 people die from an opioid-related overdose. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please know that you are not alone in your battle. For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been helping those afflicted with the disease, begin their journey to recovery and restore their lives. If you are ready to make a change, contact our Admissions Specialists today.




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