Macklemore Enlists President Obama to Discuss Opioid Epidemic in MTV Docs’ Debut Offering

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

More people died of drug overdoses in the United States last year than in car crashes.

How big of a deal is that? An estimated 38,300 people died in auto accidents, so the scale of the drug deaths is almost unimaginable.

Tonight, MTV bores into this explosion in drug deaths, a spike largely attributable to an eruption of opioid use, with Prescription For Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis, a one-hour documentary hosted by Grammy Award-winning artist Macklemore, himself a recovering addict.

This powerful documentary, the first from MTV’s new Docs division, is an incisive exploration of the opioid epidemic that is gutting American communities. The doc not only explores the scope and trauma of the rampage, but takes a frank look at why what is certainly not the country’s first drug abuse problem is getting so much more sympathetic attention than past scourges. The meat of this is explored in a candid conversation between Macklemore and President Obama:

The documentary is an intimate look at what’s been working to help wheel the stigmatized and hopeless youth from the well of drug addiction. Here, Macklemore visits Interagency Recovery School in Seattle, where he joins students and faculty for a raw and wide open discussion on their struggles with addiction:

Macklemore, who has beaten addiction before, only to relapse and ultimately punch his way back to sobriety, is uniquely positioned to explore the complex matrix of addiction and recovery, and the social forces driving both. He spoke with MTVU’s Half of Us campaign in 2014 about his descent into drugs and alcohol in high school:

So how good is life when you’re sober? Looks all right to me:


Prescription for Change debuts Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET. The premiere took place last week at the White House in Washington, D.C., at the South by South Lawn festival. Afterward, MTV News livestreamed this panel where Macklemore discussed the epidemic with National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli and others:


Documentaries on transgender youth in Los Angeles and Major Lazer’s open-arms Havana concert earlier this year are scheduled to be next up from MTV Docs.

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