With so many high-profile deaths as a result of prescription drug abuse in the news recently, it is no surprise that President Obama has become invested in the problem— after all, prescription drugs, particularly prescription painkillers, are accessible to people of all ages in the United States. Drugs like codeine and Vicodin, both derived from similar compounds as heroin and morphine, are commonly prescribed to people who are experiencing significant levels of pain. They are extremely effective as short-term painkillers, but they also pose significant risks: one of the most important risks is, of course, addiction.
President Obama and Hip Hop Recording Artist, Macklemore, addressed the nation during the President’s weekly address in an attempt to shed some light on the problem of prescription painkiller addiction in the United States as a whole. The problem of addiction to prescription painkillers, Macklemore told President Obama, is that they are widely accessible to nearly anyone, young or old, who is interested or curious about using them. Opioids have long been a problem for the rapper, who has admitted that addiction has plagued him since his early teen years. His successful fight against addiction and his story regarding his meteoric rise to fame is something that he seems to hope will invigorate other young people to resist using prescription drugs and avoid the dangers of prescription painkiller addiction.
Prescription painkiller addiction is one of the fastest-growing problems in the United States, and although steps have been taken to offset this problem, more and more young people are falling prey to these powerful medications. President Obama has recently supported legislation designed to address the problem of opioid addiction in the United States, but he claims that the version of the bill that has passed through the House and the Senate does not do enough to provide treatment options for people who have fallen victim to this silent addiction. Greater support infrastructure is fundamentally important to address this growing issue, and further conversations like the one between the President, Macklemore, and the country as a whole can only improve the current situation. As Macklemore told the nation, “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.” This fight is one that affects everyone, and expanding treatment options can only help those who are struggling with the issue.
Hearing an icon like Macklemore speak out against recreational prescription painkiller use might not stop the epidemic that is sweeping the United States, but the singer’s investment in the cause could potentially begin the conversation for many families. Because drug education programs targeted at children and young teens focus so heavily on illicit drugs, the problem of easy-accessible prescription painkillers is sometimes ignored. By opening up to the country and the world as a whole, Macklemore has allowed many families around the country to begin talking about the problem of opioid addiction. Indeed, in families where opioid addiction is not a problem, parents might even be able to take action to remove these dangerous substances from the medicine cabinet that could be accessible to an adolescent. Removing access and maintaining a watchful eye for signs of addiction are the first steps to reducing rates of prescription painkiller addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with prescription painkiller addiction, please contact our Admissions team at (866) 905-4550.