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In the wake of the continual demonetization of marijuana(despite states opting for its recreational use and advances made in the medical field utilizing it), a true drug crisis has embedded itself in society. Pill abuse is at an all time high. The pills in question are both prescription pills (such as pain relievers) and non-prescription pills (such as molly, speed or ecstasy). While focusing on one front, a whole pill culture has emerged that is present everywhere from the white suburbs to the hallowed halls of Hip-Hop.

Pill culture first overtly made its present known in Hip Hop via the presence of “Molly”, which though pushed as a purer form of the drug ecstasy was many time nothing more than a random concoction. At times, it may be a blend of speed and heroin or cocaine. Other times, the pill may have been nothing more than a placebo. Molly started to gain a high profile in rapper’s songs and the public followed suit. This was a major shift in Hip Hop amongst the Black and Brown youth. Before the advent of Molly, “popping pills” was usually looked at as a “white thing.” Now in present day popular Hip Hop, you will have several top artists mentioning popping pills just as casually as drinking alcohol. Accompanying this are higher levels of depression and suicide in the Black and Brown community. A direct correlation hasn’t been made, yet it is important to note possible factors.

A byproduct of the medical industry has also been contributing to the pill culture. In the last few years, the prescription of pain relievers, especially those that are opiates(Oxycontin, Percocet, etc.), have been on the increase. Opiates are highly addictive. As pain relievers, they are prescribed for a limited amount of time, yet this doesn’t prevent many people from developing deep seeded addictions. A strong underground market centered around prescription drugs has grown up as a result of this. Even with that market present, many aren’t able to link into it, so they go to the street opiate of choice, heroin. In the last few years, heroin use has been increasing in some areas, notably the suburbs. All of this is connected to the liberal prescription opiate pain relievers.

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The pill culture, at this point, is a health crisis. Communities and organizations are addressing it in ways that former epidemics weren’t. Many are pointing out that the compassionate approach is mired in racial health disparities, now that white children are being touched heavily by heroin. There has been an aggressive push by Black and Brown people to address its presence in Hip Hop music, many who have relatives who have lived through the last great heroin crisis of the 70s. What we do know is that all parties who are playing a part in this pill culture have to be held accountable. It ain’t healthy. The number of people overdosing on opiates has increased all over the country. The number of people being afflicted with liver and kidney problems has increased. It is something that needs to be addressed strongly to bring about a plan of action that will eliminate the pill culture.