President Barack Obama and Macklemore teamed up for a White House weekly address where the pair discussed one of the issues plaguing the nation at an alarming rate: Opioid 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,” Obama said.
The video arrives on the same day the president “called on Congress to pass the $ 1.1 billion in new funding in his Budget to make sure that every American with an opioid use disorder who wants treatment can get the help they need,” the White House said in a statement.
Addiction is a reoccurring theme on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ recent LP This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, with the track “Kevin” about the rapper’s 21-year-old friend who died from drug use. Macklemore, who has previously entered into rehab to combat his own drug addiction, talked about Kevin during the weekly address.
“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.”
The “Thrift Shop” rapper has been working on a documentary about the epidemic for MTV.
Honored to be at @WhiteHouse with @MTV to talk to @POTUS about opioid addiction. Really excited for this project. pic.twitter.com/feb7AfoHqn
— Macklemore (@macklemore) May 12, 2016
Obama then detailed the many ways his administration is working to stem the spread of opioid addiction and overdose deaths in his final year of office, like reaching out to law enforcement agencies to ensure people who need help wind up in rehab and not jail, and promising that Obamacare health plans include coverage for treatment.
“When you’re going through it, it’s hard to imagine that there could be anything worse than addiction. But shame and the stigma associated with the disease from seeking the help that they actually need,” Macklemore said. “Addiction isn’t a personal choice or a personal failing, and sometimes it takes more than a strong will to get better; it takes a strong community and accessible resources.”