New Macklemore Video Paints Dark Picture Of Prescription Drug Abuse, Addiction

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New Macklemore Video Paints Dark Picture Of Prescription Drug Abuse, Addiction

Hip-hop artist Macklemore’s new song/video offers an intimate look at prescription drug abuse, and portrays Big Pharma and doctors as villains who peddle addictive drugs for money, rather than release people from pain. In the opening verse, he refers to pharmaceutical companies as “murderers who will never face a judge.”

Also in the song verse, featured artist Ariana Deboo chants:

“My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor
Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma
He said that he would heal me, heal me
But he only gave me problems, problems
I think he trying to kill me, kill me
Tried to kill me for a dollar.”

Macklemore (formerly Ben Haggerty) is a 33-year-old Grammy winner, known for his 2013 single “Thrift Shop.” He has also been publicly open for years about his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.

In a 2014 interview with MTV, Macklemore admitted that as a young adult, he used Oxycontin, one of the most commonly abused opioid painkillers on the market:

“[Oxycontin] is synthetic heroin, that’s the definition of it…the grip that it had, just doing it for five or six days, sweating through my sheets and coming off of it shaking.”

Indeed, in the music video for “Drug Dealer,” Macklemore is shown sweating through his sheets and experiencing what is presumed to be withdrawal symptoms. The artist went into rehab and recovered at age 25, but in July, 2015, he told Us magazine that he relapsed in 2014 after recording his latest album “The Heist.” He has since said he’s clean again.

In the song, Macklemore refers to other artists who also succumbed to prescription drug abuse, such as Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, and most recently, the artist Prince. He laments that “I could’ve been gone, out 30’s, faded in that tub.”

Macklemore’s song and video is not alone in its perception of pharmaceutical companies and doctors as responsible for the current opioid epidemic, which now kills more 28,000 people per year. It is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and at that, has surpassed even car crashes.

As of the time of this writing, Macklemore’s video “Drug Dealer” had more than 6.7 million views on YouTube.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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