Macklemore and President Obama talked about drug addiction during the president’s weekly address. Macklemore has been open about his struggles — being arrested at 15 and ending up in King County Juvenile Drug Court.
Grammy Award-winning rapper and Seattle native Macklemore joined President Barack Obama in the president’s weekly address to discuss drug addiction and call for politicians to fund recovery programs.
Drug overdoses kill more people each year than traffic accidents, and the number of deaths from opioid overdoses has tripled since 2000, Obama noted, sitting next to Macklemore at the White House. Many times, the drugs are prescribed by a doctor.
“So addiction doesn’t always start in some dark alley — it often starts in a medicine cabinet,” Obama said.
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The U.S. House of Representatives passed several bills during the past week to fight opioid addiction, but the Obama administration says the legislation does not provide enough money to expand treatment.
Macklemore, 32, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, has been open about his prescription-drug and alcohol addictions. He was first arrested at 15 and ended up in King County Juvenile Drug Court. He entered rehab in 2008. During the Saturday address, he mentioned his friend Kevin, who died at 21 from an overdose of painkillers.
The hip-hop artist is sober, but his struggle with addiction is an ongoing process, he’s said previously.
“Addiction is like any other disease — it doesn’t discriminate,” Macklemore said during the address. “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 is “an advocate who’s giving voice to a disease we too often whisper about: the disease of addiction,” Obama said.
A conversation between Obama and Macklemore on opioid addiction — and what can be done to address the problem — will air on MTV this summer.