Rapper Macklemore appeared in President Obama's weekly address Saturday to discuss the growing epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States.
Macklemore has previously been open about his personal struggles with addiction and the abuse of painkillers, which resulted in a 2008 stint in rehab and a 2014 relapse. "When you're going through it, it's hard to imagine anything being worse than addiction," he says in Saturday's short video. "But the shame and stigma associated with the disease keeps too many people from seeking the help they actually need. Addiction isn't a personal choice or a personal failure."
Obama and Macklemore, who is making a documentary about opioid addiction that will air this summer on MTV, together make the case for increased federal funding for addiction outreach and treatment services. "Drug overdoses now take more lives every year than traffic accidents," Obama says in the video. "Deaths from opioid overdoses have tripled since 2000. A lot of time they're from legal drugs prescribed by a doctor. So addiction doesn't always start in some dark alley. It often starts in a medicine cabinet."
Obama is asking Congress to pass $1.1 billion in new funding to combat opioid addiction.
"I know recovery isn't easy or quick. but along with the 12-step program, treatment has saved my life," Macklemore adds. "And recovery works. But we need our government in Washington to fund it and people to know how to find it."