Almost 100 people are dying every day across America from #opioid #overdoses – more than car crashes and shootings combined. The majority of these fatalities reveal widespread #addiction to powerful #prescription #painkillers. The crisis unfolded in the mid-90s when the #US #pharmaceutical industry began marketing legal #narcotics, particularly #OxyContin, to treat everyday pain. This slow-release opioid was vigorously promoted to doctors and, amid lax regulation and slick sales tactics, people were assured it was safe. But the drug was akin to #luxury #morphine, doled out like #super #aspirin, and highly addictive. What resulted was a commercial #triumph and a public health #tragedy. Belated efforts to rein in distribution fueled a resurgence of #heroin and the emergence of a deadly, black market version of the synthetic opioid #fentanyl. The #crisis is so deep because it affects all #races, #regions and #incomes. Pop a Perky just to start up / Pop two cups of purple just to warm up …” Quavo’s lyrics swim through the slow, narcotized production of Slippery, a track by rap trio Migos that has become one of the genre’s biggest hits of the year with nearly 150m views on YouTube. For the uninitiated, “Perky” is #Percocet, a painkiller made up of #paracetamol and the opioid oxycodone; “#purple” is a drink made from codeine-based cough #syrup. Quavo’s drug use is as improvisatory as it is blithe, and is just one example of a rap scene where substance abuse has become normalized. .
Lil Peep also rapped about drug-taking: “I hear voices in my head, they tellin’ me to call it quits / I found some #Xanax in my bed, I took that shit, went back to sleep”; “Sniffin’ #cocaine ’cause I didn’t have no #Actavis / Smokin’ propane with my clique and the bad bitches”; “Gettin’ high ’cause my life don’t mean shit to me”. His vision of drug-taking was not without pleasure, but certainly a means of escape as well as straightforward hedonism – a marked change in rap culture.