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New rap song addresses opioid addiction in America

Posted at 11:27 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 23:30:31-04

In their latest release, rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are tackling opioid addiction in America. The 3:44 song highlights the fatal overdoses of superstars like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston and blames pharmaceutical companies for pushing prescription drug use.

The concept is striking a chord with anti-drug activists like Avi Israel. “It's a great message to young kids.”
Israel said a big problem with treating addiction lies with the health care system, and education programs like D.A.R.E., meant to steer kids away from drugs in the first place, are outdated. “The drugs that's available for today's kids weren't available six months ago.”

That's why he's glad to hear a pop star is taking on the issue.

But, some question whether Macklemore’s "Drug Dealer" will have an impact.

“I think of Neil Young's “Needle and the Damage Done.” Those are great pieces of art certainly more so than Macklemore's song. But, regrettably they've not really made much difference in the long run,” said University at Buffalo English Professor, David Schmid.

Further, Schmid doesn't think many will look to Macklemore as a social critic or one that can effect social change.
Maybe, but Israel said even raising awareness can't hurt. “I would advise everybody to listen to this. Even if you don't like rap, just listen to the words,” he said.

October 23rd-31st is Red Ribbon Week. For more information, click here.