A Heroin Addict's Message To Donald Trump

I didn't vote for you, Mr. Trump. You see, I was born with a brain injury. Doctors at Childrens Hospital in Boston told my parents I'd never be able to walk normally.

Young children are mean. My early childhood was filled with insults and laughs. When I walked into a classroom, a restaurant, or down a street, people didn't look into my eyes. They always looked down as I limped awkwardly along.

But I overcame and became a varsity athlete at a prep school outside of Boston. As a teenager, I grew strong and anybody that made fun of my limp or my awkward gate became irrelevant.

Frankly, Mr. Trump, the day you mocked a disabled reporter should have been the end of your presidential candidacy.

That said, I for one am all for giving you a chance to "make America great again." Sure, your past is strewn with well-documented mistakes, but as a recovering heroin addict, who the hell am I to say you can't change?

Mr. President-Elect, I implore you to focus your efforts on the heroin epidemic that is running rampant and crushing the American dream in every state in the Union.

I understand that the stigma and moral issues of heroin addiction run deep. Today's heroin epidemic parallels the AIDS epidemic of the 70s. The old school philosophy back then was, "Men having sex with men. It's not natural. That's God's punishment."

Although the diction has changed, the sentiment remains constant today. "I didn't force them to stick a needle of heroin into their arm. Why should I be forced to pay for their rehabilitation?"

But you see, we are not junkies, Mr. President-Elect. I am almost three decades clean, have won the du-Pont Columbia as a journalist, written two books, became a WGA screenwriter and worked on The Fighter, a feature film that won two Academy Awards.

I have spoken to organizations and recovery centers all across America. And what amazed me the most were the rooms were filled with middle class kids whose fathers were chief's of police, firefighters, teachers, lawyers and doctors.

Heroin addiction is insidious: in several states across this country, young women are selling themselves as sex-slaves in order to maintain their daily heroin habit.

Just recently, NPR did a radio program about heroin addicts that are purposely committing crimes so they'll be arrested and locked up to get the treatment they need.

Treatment is just not available on the streets because there aren't any beds available in recovery centers. The medical community could never have prepared for the onslaught of heroin in their neighborhoods.

But make no mistake about it, Mr. President-Elect, this epidemic was given birth by Purdue Pharma and corporate greed. In fact, the Sacklers, the Godfathers of OxyContin, rang in at number 19 on last year's Forbes annual list of America's richest families.

It's time to call a spade a spade: the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma acquired a fortune with the blood of young Americans. They were convicted in Federal Court of knowingly and willfully misleading consumers. By the way, it was your friend Rudy Guliani's law firm that got them off with a sweetheart deal.

When you become President of the United States, you will have an opportunity to change all this. Not by appointing a "political hack," but rather a person in the trenches who has overcome addiction and isn't concerned about who is on first base, who is on second base and who is pitching.

There is a solution. Create a "sin tax" similar to the cigarette and alcohol tax levied by several states. If big Pharma wants to do business on the backs of the American consumers suffering from chronic pain, make them pay a "recovery tax."

Create a work program for heroin addicts that want help. A simple, we'll pay for your thirty day recovery hospital and continued care, and you'll work cleaning up roads or run down areas of your community to pay for it.

Designate a line on the IRS tax forms for people to donate a dollar or more to help put an end to the suffering brought on by the countless deaths of promising young men and woman.

Mr. President-Elect, you have a daunting task in front of you. But you can't make America great again by sitting back and watching 3,999 American children die every month from an accidental overdose of heroin. That's right, 129 people a day die from an overdose.

I have an 11-year-old son that is on the brink of growing up in a society that will be the most dangerous environment in America's history. You see, Mr. Trump, not since your predecessor, Lydon Johnson, has the youth of America been more in jeopardy.

Think about it; not since the Vietnam War has a generation been at greater risk to die between the ages of 18 to 25. Please help them.


Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.