Macklemore's "Drug Dealer" and America's War on Prescription Drugs
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Health and Wellness

Macklemore's "Drug Dealer" and America's War on Prescription Drugs

Now it's everybody's problem, got a nation on the verge

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Macklemore's "Drug Dealer" and America's War on Prescription Drugs
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DISCLAIMER: This article is in no way saying that prescription drugs are a horrible thing that should not be used. The author realizes that sometimes prescription drugs make the situation a lot better, but this is not what the article is about.


I want to tell you a story. A little over a year ago, I was a bright-eyed 18-year-old who was headed to college for the first time and was full of excitement. Though, when I got to college, my spirit was crushed and my character and personality were changed for good.

While at this specific college, I experienced loneliness, depression, anxiety, 5 to 10 panic attacks a day, anger, abandonment, and so many other horrible, horrible things. I spent the most of my time laid up in my room, by myself, crying in my bed. As a freshman, you expect to become instant best friends with your roommate and you cling onto them for dear life until you both make new friends. Unfortunately for me, that didn't happen. My roommate had her boyfriend and one of her good friends from high school going to this same college. So, while she tried to invite me to dinners with them, I only felt like an outsider as I listened to them talk about their inside jokes and wild stories that I didn't know anything about. And I couldn't blame them. I know if my boyfriend and good friend came to college with me, I would have done the same thing. I felt abandoned by my family, abandoned by my friends, abandoned by my roommate, abandoned by my RA's who never really checked on me except to see if I made it to my dorm before curfew, and I felt abandoned by God. Nonetheless, halfway through my first week by breaking down and crying to my mom over the phone after every single class, she finally decided I needed to go see a doctor.

Now let's take a pause here and let me explain to you why she thought this. Before I went to this school that I won't name (If you're really that curious, go through my articles and I'm sure you'll find an old article I wrote with the name included), I was happy, bubbly, charismatic, open, extroverted, and just a fun person to be around (if I do say so myself). So, being this zombie-like person at college was incredibly out of character for me.

When I was on the way to go see my doctor with my mom, I remember turning to her before going in and saying, "If he tries to shove any kind of pills or medicine down my throat, I don't want it." Remember this fact, it will be important later.

When we went into the doctor, I got the vibe that my doctor was annoyed with me that this was the reason I had come in, that I felt like I was some kind of bother to him who was taking up his time when there was nothing physically wrong with me.

I was hoping at the doctor he would agree on my thoughts that I should transfer to a school back home, since it was blatantly obvious the thing causing me so much stress and anxiety was the school. Well, that doctor didn't exactly think that. Instead, he first got in my face and told me these three words: "get over it" (I'll never forget those words, sometimes they show up in my nightmares). Then, he began writing me a prescription for a low dosage of Xanax, but assured he could raise the dosage if I needed it as I went along.

My mom and I made eye contact as he wrote it, knowing that this is not what I needed at all. My doctor did nothing to understand my feelings or to see why I was mentally reacting this way to a new school. Instead, he just wrote up a prescription to get me out of his office sooner.

Pause again, I can just imagine an angry doctor reading this thinking I'm stupid for thinking I'm smarter than a doctor. But, let me just continue.

After my mom and I got in the car, we both agreed once again I was not going to get this prescription of Xanax and the note of his prescription sat untouched in my house for months until someone finally decided to throw it away. Instead, I withdrew from that school and started attending a different one. And another thing? My anxiety is gone. I am back to feeling how I did before that school: happy, carefree, bubbly, and outgoing. Remember my story; I am a lucky one. This information will be important later.


There was a song that recently came out that made me think of my story. Before, I never really thought of that story of my doctor trying to prescribe me Xanax. In fact, I didn't really even tell anyone he did because I thought it wasn't that important. That was, until I heard this song: Drug Dealer by Macklemore.

Here are some of the lyrics that really hit me and made me think "what if I had taken that Xanax prescription? What if he upped my dosage? What if I became dependent on it?" So, these lyrics made me think and I want to break them down to you and really talk about the problem in America that is prescription drugs.


"They said it wasn't a gateway drug, my homie was taking subs and he ain't wake up. The whole while, these billionaires stay caked-up, paying out congress so we take their drugs. Murderers who will never face a judge."

By "subs," Macklemore is referring to Suboxone, a pain reliever, which killed a guy he met in rehab. He then goes on to talk about how the people who create the drugs, such as subs, are paying off congressmen to continue to pass laws allowing their drugs to stay in business, even though the drugs are continuously killing people. This leads to his line about how they are murderers who will never face a judge.

"I could've been gone, off 30s , faded in that tub. That's Prince, Michael, and Whitney, that's Amy, Ledger, and Pimp C. That's Yams, DJ A.M..."

Now, this refers to how Mackelmore could have died from his addiction, like his friends from rehab who he has watched die from prescription drugs. Meanwhile, he is taking medicine that contains 30 milligrams of oxycodone and is "faded" or in a high-like state while laying in a tub. He then goes on to talk about some of the most famous celebrities who have died of an overdose.

Prince died of an overdose of fentanyl (which was mislabeled as hydrocodone). Michael Jackson died of an overdose of Propofol, Lorazepam, Midazolam, Diazepam, Lidocaine, and Ephedrine. Whitney Houston died of an overdose of cocaine, diphenhydramine, alprazolam, cannabis, and cyclobenzaprine. Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning after a long past of prescription drug abuse. Heath Ledger died from an overdose of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine. Pimp C died of an overdose of codeine. A$AP Yams also died from a codeine overdose. DJ A.M. died of an overdose of cocaine, oxycodone, Vicodin, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax, Benadryl, and levamisole.

Were these celebrities abusing the drugs they were prescribed? Yes. But, they had to start somewhere with being prescribed drugs they did not need that got them hooked and needing more.

"My drug dealer was a doctor, had the plug from big Pharma. He said that he would heal me, but he only gave me problems. My drug dealer was a doctor, had the plug from big Pharma. I think he trying to kill me, he tried to kill me for a dollar."

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

"And these devils they keep talking to me. They screamin', "Open the bottle" I want to be at peace. My hand is gripping that throttle, I'm running out of speed. Try to close my eyes but I keep sweatin' through these sheets."

Answer this for me: If a doctor prescribes a drug for you, do you think you're supposed to go through withdrawal symptoms like having inner devils to tell you to open the bottle or night sweats? I'll leave that answer up to you, let's break down the song more.

warning: vulgar language.

"When Morphine and Heroin is more of your budget, I said I'd never use a needle but sure, fuck it."

This line refers to the fact that we all know, prescription drugs can get expensive. So when you become addicted to these drugs and no longer can afford it, you will start to turn to the cheaper street drugs.

"So God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

This is a part of the Serenity Prayer, and apparently is something that is said a lot in 12-step programs of Narcotics Anonymous.


So, let's look at some facts that I found"

• Prescription drugs are the leading cause of fatal overdoses.

• More than 1,600 teens start abusing prescription drugs every day.

• Prescription drugs are the 3rd most common abused substance, right behind alcohol and marijuana.

• Almost 1 in every 4 American teens have said they have abused prescription drugs.

• Ritalin and Adderall account for most of the top drugs abused by 12th graders.

• 120,000 Americans are hospitalized each year for overdosing on painkillers.

That's just some of the terrifying facts. Do your research for more.


Every day, I'm lucky that that person never became me; that I never accepted the Xanax prescription that could have ruined my life.

Sure, it could have not happened. I could have come out completely normal, but what if I didn't? So, luckily none of this ever happened to me... and I don't want it to happen to you. Oh and that doctor I went to? I haven't been back since.

If we're going to keep this war on drugs alive, we need to focus on the harm of prescription drugs as well.

If you or someone you love is facing addiction, please seek help.

Call 1-877-978-1732 to talk to someone about understanding your addiction and seeking out treatment.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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