Nikki Sixx, who was once declared clinically dead after overdosing on heroin at the height of Mötley Crüe’s fame, has penned an op-ed decrying the way the government is handling the United States’ opioid crisis.
“Opioid abuse isn’t just making addicts sick, it’s making America sick,” he wrote in Los Angeles Times. He then cited statistics that suggest more Americans die of overdoses than gun violence and vehicular crashes combined. He also points to data that suggest that heroin-related deaths more than quadrupled between 2002 and 2013.
“Now President Trump wants to slash the 2018 Medicaid budget,” he wrote. “He’s suggesting deep cuts in funding for treatment, prevention and addiction research. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to fill federal prisons with drug addicts instead of getting them help.
“Trump makes a show of concern,” Sixx continued. “He convened a commission in March charged with studying the problem, and he has promised to declare opioid addiction a national emergency, which would free up resources for the battle. But he has failed to file the proper paperwork.”
The bassist further lambasted Trump for placing blame for the epidemic on China and Mexico rather than targeting American drug companies and “overzealous” American doctors.
Sixx suggests that Trump already knows the solution is through treatment, education, research and “supply reduction.” The responsibility for these changes lie directly with the government, he says. “Congress and the administration must approve a 2018 budget that provides sufficient funding for Medicaid,” Sixx wrote. “Of the 2 million Americans in treatment for opioid addiction, approximately 30 percent receive Medicaid. We must not make it harder for the most vulnerable addicts to obtain treatment.”
Beyond this, he asks that the government not declare drug addiction a “preexisting condition” when rewriting healthcare laws and that drug manufacturers are held accountable for the way they market drugs. He’d also like to see Naloxone, a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, be made widely available.
“Addiction cannot be solved behind closed doors,” Sixx wrote. “It’s a sickness, a systemic failure and a societal problem. Individuals are responsible for their own recovery, but too often, we struggle and suffer – as we sin – in secrecy and silence. Secrecy and silence do not lead to solutions.”
Sixx chronicled his own odyssey into drug addiction in his 2008 book, The Heroin Diaries, which contains writings from around the time he overdosed. He’s reissuing the book on October 24th as The Heroin Diaries: Ten Year Anniversary Edition with new chapters.