President Obama's Opioid Epidemic Documentary Featuring Macklemore To Screen At The White House

By John Lavitt 10/03/16

A post-screening panel featuring Macklemore, Michael Botticelli and more will be available to watch live online.

President Obama's Opioid Epidemic Documentary Featuring Macklemore To Screen At The White House
Photo via YouTube

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, a first-look screening of the forthcoming MTV documentary, Prescription For Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis, will be hosted by the White House.

Held in conjunction with the first ever South by South Lawn (SXSL) event at the White House, the documentary features President Obama talking about the opioid epidemic with Grammy Award-winning artist Macklemore. As one of the creative forces behind the documentary, Macklemore will be present at the screening. 

Right after the screening, MTV News Senior Political Correspondent Ana Marie Cox will moderate a conversation on the response to the opioid epidemic. The conversation will include Macklemore, Drug Czar Michael Botticelli, and other high-profile panelists.

If you wish to see a live stream of the post-screening panel, you can watch it here.

The documentary features President Obama’s weekly address with Macklemore by his side on May 14, 2016. Macklemore discussed the cost of his own personal drug addiction and the importance of recovery. He was the first non-politician or foreign dignitary to be included in such a weekly address.

The rapper candidly explains his presence, saying, “I’m here with President Obama because I take this personally … 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.”

In the documentary, President Obama underscores how opioid overdoses have tripled since 2000 and that drug overdoses kill more people each year than traffic accidents. With 44% of Americans knowing someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, President Obama points out how, “A lot of times they’re from legal drugs prescribed by a doctor, so addiction doesn’t always start in a dark alley—it often starts in a medicine cabinet.”

Inspired by the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and conference, South by South Lawn will bring together creators, innovators, and organizers from across the country at the White House. Like a mini version of the SXSW annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals, South by South Lawn will also highlight music, film, and great ideas‎.

SXSL is being done in coordination with the American Film Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Given the impact of the national opioid epidemic on the creative community, the administration believes it makes sense to include the MTV documentary about the national crisis.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.