Godsmack’s Sully Erna Tackles Opioid Addiction In New Music

By Kelly Burch 07/17/17

The rocker says that after learning more about the opioid epidemic, he felt compelled to use his voice to raise awareness about it.

Godsmack's Sully Erna

Godsmack frontman Sully Erna has released a new solo song meant to raise awareness about opioid addiction. “Different Kind of Tears”—off Erna’s Hometown Life album—details the pain of opioid addiction, both for people with addiction and their loved ones. 

Erna’s hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts has become a hotbed of the opioid epidemic in the Northeast. The city itself has been blamed by governors in nearby states like Maine and New Hampshire for fueling the flow of opioids, particularly fentanyl, throughout New England. 

“For me it's very personal because Lawrence, Massachusetts is my hometown…and it really has become the hub of all the opioid and heroin that is going through the Northeast and the nation,” Erna told NPR

Erna said that the more he learned about the opioid epidemic, the more he felt compelled to contribute to the fight against the deadly drugs. 

“This is the real deal,” he said. “This is one of those things you could experiment and try once and not wake up from it. And we don’t know what’s in half of these drugs now, what they’re cutting it with. And the medical industry needs to step up a little bit too and do their job. These doctors prescribe you these intense opioids…when you have a toothache and that’s another problem.”

The video for “Different Kind of Tears” opens with a montage of mothers who have lost their children to addiction. 

“Losing a child is just something that is difficult to put into words,” one says. “When our children were going through addiction at least I know for myself we had hope that he would get better, that he would recover and that life would be normal. When we lose a child we don’t just lose a child, we lose an important part of our future.”

The rest of the video follows a young man struggling with opioid addiction. At one point he steals his mother’s purse in order to buy drugs, which leads to a friend’s overdose. The song and music video were produced in conjunction with Recovery Centers of America and the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation

Erna has great compassion for people struggling with addiction, but he also is blunt about the choices of each individual. 

“I want people to understand…this starts with you. This is your choice to not do the drugs, to not be influenced by your friends and things like that. You’re the one who needs to know that there is a better life on the other side.”

Erna called on parents to be more involved with their children and be aware of prescription drugs in the home. Even for people who have become addicted there is hope, he added. “There’s also the choice to get treatment,” he said. 

Erna said that he will continue to try to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic. 

“For me, not only is it going to be a message, but I’m going to try to come up with more conceptual footage that hits home,” he said.  

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.