By Sam Pav
Yesterday, rapper Macklemore released a video for a new song titled, "Drug Dealer". It blew up on social media with shares, likes, retweets and comments. After watching it, I was physically and emotionally moved. FINALLY, a person who is able to reach millions of people such as a singer/songwriter, has brought to light one of the most deadly epidemics our country is facing right now. It's incredibly brave of him to share some of his experience, strength, and hope via song and even breaking his anonymity admitting that he has overcome his demons. The serenity prayer he says at the end gave me the chills. The whole song is so powerful, raw and real. It's relatable to addicts everywhere. I personally know many people whose addictions began using painkillers, prescribed by a doctor, due to an injury or routine surgery. It escalates quicker than we can even imagine, practically overnight. The high becomes normal and we addicts are always looking for something stronger, more effective. "Drug Dealer" paints an extremely vivid picture of the fight an addict puts up with daily. It opens up the fact that maybe it's beyond the streets. Addiction is sprouting in doctor's offices and hospitals. Some people are unknowingly taking something as prescribed and out of nowhere becoming addicted to the medication. It's something I never really thought about in that way. Macklemore not only courageously exposes some people's causes of drug use, but he raises the awareness of how badly this problem truly is. "But this shit's been going on from Seattle out to South Philly, it just moved out about the city and spread out to the 'burbs. Now it's everybody's problem, got a nation on the verge."
Whether you're an addict or not, drug addiction will have an effect on you whether you have a friend, family member, coworker, neighbor, etc who is struggling. Since the release of this song/video, I've seen a lot of hate posts on Facebook completely bashing addicts, truly believing it's a selfish choice. I personally find some people's opinions extremely offensive, especially with how cold and uncompassionate they are towards this DISEASE, but I do realize that it is uneducated ignorance. I used to be mad at the drug for how my brother suffered. I was even mad at my brother. However, once I had my own experience, I realized how helpless I really felt. I promise you, absolutely nobody wishes they grow up to be a drug addict or alcoholic. It may be a choice initially, but the power drugs and alcohol have over people is truly wicked. In the second verse he says, "I'm caught up, I'm on one, I'm nauseous. No options, exhausted. This is not what I started, walkin' carcass, I lost everything I wanted." A real life horror movie. The worst part is, it can happen to anyone. There are no pre-requisites for becoming an addict. It brought be back to my own personal hell when he says, "Best friends with the thing that's killing me, enemies with my best friend, there's no healing me." Heavy stuff.
Something else that struck a chord with me is when he mentions "we dancing to a song about our faces going numb." In my opinion, I'm interpreting that as recognition of people glorifying drug use. There are so many music artists, rappers and DJ's who sing/rap about the "uppers". I'll be honest, I LOVED those type of party favors when I was out there. I very much enjoyed the powders and rocks at the club. The way people romance these drugs doesn't sit well with me. They obviously enhance our experiences but what they don't talk about is becoming suicidal when we are coming down off the drugs. Not sleeping for days. Physically beaten down. The sad part is that people take them beyond the clubs and the nights out. They become addicted to it. I pray for the especially sick people who brag about "needing" it and boasting about how much they can handle. I respect and admire Macklemore for bringing out the reality of the days after when "I'm trying to close my eyes but I keep sweating through these sheets, through these sheets." This is real.
BE KIND, PEOPLE. You have no idea what kind of battles we fight on a daily basis. Reach out to someone you think might be hurting. Share your experience to help a person dealing with a similar situation. Have compassion. Pray for them. Join together as communities and help these people who are struggling. Whether it's raising money for rehab treatments or bringing awareness to young people, something has to be done. I am so sick to my stomach of people dying to this plague of heroin and painkillers. I live in the suburbs in Pennsylvania and it's a complete outbreak. It's worse than inner cities. When my brother died to an overdose, it lit a fire in me to make a difference in people's lives who struggle with addiction. His story can help others live. That is one of the main reasons I started writing this blog. It also helps me too. This is an unforgivingly terrible disease and I'm so grateful a public figure like him has created a way to reach people like this.