The White House Is Hosting a Tasteless Opioid Crisis Memorial

On today's episode, Maia Szalavitz discusses 'Prescribed to Death,' a controversial memorial meant to commemorate those who've died from painkiller overdoses.
April 4, 2018, 5:34pm
Image: The White House/Twitter

President Trump's administration has had some controversial views on drug and addiction policy since he took office. In the latest announcement on the epidemic, he said the White House would host a temporary memorial to honor people who've died from prescription opioid overdoses. The exhibit, called Prescribed to Death, will sit in President's Park and depict 22,000 faces engraved on pills to symbolize those who have died in 2017.


Critics say the memorial perpetuates some falsehoods about the current crisis—many of these deaths, for example, are caused not by prescription painkillers, but from street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Others, like the co-founder of Families for Sensible Drug Policy Carol Katz Beyer, have called the exhibit "dehumanizing" by "reducing [victims] to faces on a pill."

Maia Szalavitz, a neuroscience journalist and drug and addiction writer, discusses the implications of Prescribed to Death on today's episode.

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