President Barack Obama is tackling the nation’s growing opioid abuse problem with the help of an artist who has dealt with it first hand, Grammy Award-winning rapper Macklemore.
According to the Associated Press, the president addressed drug overdoses and plans for treatment in his weekly address with the rapper on Friday (May 13). With painkiller and heroin addiction becoming a larger issue over the years, Obama is pushing Congress to consider a larger budget to help with treatment. During the weekly address, he also discussed plans to deter addicts from the criminal justice system with programs that help put an end to addiction.
“Deaths from opioid overdoses have tripled since 2000. A lot of time, they’re from legal drugs prescribed from a doctor, so addiction doesn’t always start in some dark alley; it often starts in a medicine cabinet,” he explained.
Macklemore, who’s addressed his past struggles with painkillers through his music, echoed Obama’s statements. “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 an inner city, suburb or rural America,” Macklemore said. “This doesn’t just happen to other peoples’ kids or some other neighborhood; it can happen to any of us.”
USA Today reports the House recently passed 18 bipartisan bills that will manage opioid treatment in and out of the doctor’s office. While doctor’s will be required to manage the amount of painkillers given to patients, other bills will establish programs to treat children who were born to mothers who abused opioids.
President Obama explained that the proposed larger budget ($1.1 billion) is needed to get the programs off the ground. In the meantime, the duo urged the public to keep the discussion going. Their larger conversation about opioid addiction is set to air on MTV this summer.
Check out the special weekly address below.