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SNL skit sparks discussion

April 20, 2016
by Julia Brown
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A "Saturday Night Live" skit, portraying heroin as an over-the-counter medication, in a classic tongue-in-cheek style, has drawn criticism from consumers and industry members alike. Some 9,000 people have signed a Change.org petition demanding SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels issue an apology. Here's a roundup of what people are saying: 

Marvin Ventrell, executive director, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) said: 

I understand how the SNL skit is offensive and even hurtful to people who have experienced the pain of drug addiction. My sense of the bit is that it is intended as a farce rather than condoning heroin use. It is intended to be humorous in its absurdity. I do not think it is promoting or glorifying heroin or substance abuse of any kind. Nor does it suggest heroin use is advisable; to the contrary, it ends with a mother experiencing terrors. I believe it is meant to be absurd and ironically humorous, which I know many people, including addicts found it to be. 

Such dark humor is precarious and does not work for everyone. As a recovering person myself, I think many folks would be confused and put off by the way we, as a recovering people, actually frequently engage is such humor behind closed doors. It is a way of dealing with things. When I speak to a mixed group of recovering people and their family members, I always say to the family members that they may not understand or even like the way we poke fun at ourselves and our disease. We try to take the disease but not ourselves so seriously.

Addict’s Mom said:

We at “The Addict’s Mom” are appalled at NBC for choosing to air this unacceptable parody of the great tragedy of drug addiction that is destroying American families. Those of us who are living with the nightmare that is addiction do not find the skit funny, nor do we wish to encourage people to laugh at what is a deadly problem.

Addiction Campuses said:

If Saturday Night Live is talking about it, it means that it’s a big, tragic deal that needs to be discussed and addressed. The skit may outrage and insult you – but use it as a call to action.

CNN said:

This is how America talks. This is what our national conversation looks like.

A Wisconsin sheriff said:

Regardless of this unfortunate incident, as a community we can use this as an opportunity to once again have a conversation about the fight against heroin and the misuse of opiate prescription drugs. We can use this to educate our families, friends, and neighbors on the warning signs, dangers, and treatment options that are available.

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