Rapper Macklemore appeared by President Obama’s side during the White House weekly address to help raise awareness about the nation’s opioid addiction problem. The Grammy-award winning artist thus became the first non-administration official to appear on the president’s weekly address. “I’m here with President Obama because I take this personally,” Macklemore said. “I have abused prescription drugs and battled addiction. If I hadn’t gotten the help I needed when I needed it, I might not be here today. And I want to help others facing the same challenges I did.”
Obama once again called on Congress to approve $1.1 billion in funding for treatment and research into the issue as he pointed out that the number of opioid deaths have tripled since 2000. Macklemore said a friend of his was one of the victims. “I didn’t just know someone—I lost someone,” Macklemore said. “My friend Kevin overdosed on painkillers when he was just 21 years old.”
Although the House of Representatives has recently approved several bills on the issue, “unless they also make actual investments in more treatment, it won’t get Americans the help they need,” Obama said. He also said it was time to discuss the issue more and bring it out of the shadows. “Another way our country can help those suffering in private is to make this conversation public,” he said.