Is Hip-Hop Kicking its Habit?

After a recent show, rising hip-hop artist Russ was seen sporting a custom T-shirt emblazoned with an anti-drug message that proved to be quite polarizing. Russ pulled his chains aside in the photo he shared on social to make sure everyone could read his bold stance on opiates and benzodiazepines.

The problem many had with the statement Russ made wasn’t the underlying goal of decreasing pharmaceutical dependency, especially in younger generations, but the way the message was expressed. One thing that has become increasingly clear as the opioid epidemic has exploded in scope is that addiction is far easier to kill with support than shame.

One prominent artist who has notoriously indulged in his fair share of liquid codeine and other assorted dangerous substances is Chicago’s Fredo Santana, whose music features “syrup” sipping quite prominently. Fredo replied to Russ and other critics of his drug use on Twitter with a personal justification for his harmful habits.


As humans, we seek therapeutic relief instinctively, whether for physical pain or internal agony. A result of our desire to avoid anguish, the relatively new concept of pain as a 5th vital sign has…

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