Dear Saturday Night Live Producers, Executives, or whoever else signed off on the recent "Heroin AM" skit that aired on April 16th,
What the hell was that? I'm assuming since it's SNL it was supposed to be funny. It was a lot of things but funny? No, there was nothing funny about it. It was disgusting.
I can usually blame ignorance when it comes to the way our society makes light of addiction. Maybe people just don't know better. Maybe they need to be educated. Maybe they've never been directly affected by addiction the way myself and millions of other have. But not you, SNL. This doesn't apply to you. I mean, both SNL cast members John Belushi and Chris Farley died from a lethal dose of cocaine and heroin. You know... the same ingredients "Heroin AM" has that you so lightheartedly make fun of. I can't begin to count the number of SNL guests that have suffered from heroin addiction or died at the hands of it. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.
What I am most upset about is that you used your show to deliver a disgusting and irresponsible message to millions of people.
There is a heroin epidemic going on in our country right now, and we are losing brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers at a terrifying rate. Between 2002 and 2014, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled. Heroin use has more than doubled among young adults ages 18-25 in the past decade.
There are so many people that work tirelessly to end the stigma surrounding addiction and play a central role in prevention, treatment and recovery efforts for this growing epidemic. These people fight like hell to have their voices heard and then something as irresponsible as this comes along and within two minutes you've reached millions of viewers with a message that casual heroin use is funny and something to be joked about.
I'm not sure how many people you made laugh with the "Heroin AM" skit, but I'd venture to bet not as many people as you offended. I guess what baffles me most is why? Could you not find anything else to parody? Are your writers just that lazy that they couldn't come up with anything a little more original that a drug parody?
Well, shame on you, SNL and everyone else who participated in the production of the "Heroin AM" parody skit. I feel sorry for anyone who finds humor in your skit. My hope is that the skit doesn't have the impact on some that I fear it will. I hope it doesn't provide impressionable minds with the idea that trying heroin is no big deal.
I understand that I take this issue very serious but that's only because I've seen what heroin does to individuals and their families. I've seen young kids lose parents. I've seen parents lose children. And I've seen people fight with everything they have to overcome heroin. It's devastating and heartbreaking and I hope that your writers can come up with some more creative ways to make people laugh other than promoting causal heroin use.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.