Illenium opened up about his past struggles with opiate addiction via social media today. He explained that six years ago he overdosed on heroin, and through the support of his family and friends he was able to lift himself out of his addiction. Illenium explains that his decision to open up about his past was spurred on by others sharing their stories with him. It was met with widespread approval from fans and artists alike.
About five years ago, I too overdosed on heroin. I was alone in my apartment when I did the drugs. My roommate was out with his friends (one of which would actually go on to be an internationally touring artist). After a series of coincidences which I still struggle to understand today, they ended up coming back to the apartment much earlier than intended. When they arrived they found me barely breathing, blue in the face and slowly dying.
They acted fast and called the ambulance, and after several terrifying moments, EMS workers arrived and were able to revive me. Today I am several years sober. When I read Illenium's statement today I was almost brought to tears.
…trying to explain addiction to someone who has never experienced it is like trying to explain a color to someone who was blind since birth.
Destroy The Stigma
For whatever reason, the debate around whether drug addiction is a moral failing or a disease of the brain still exists on social media. Even though decades ago it was scientifically proven to be the latter. I see terribly made memes saying that “junkies” who overdose should be left to die instead of being revived. I see misinformation spread as people claim heroin addicts are revived free of charge (trust me we aren't, I have the bill to prove it). I watch as people who I believe are my friends (but are unaware of my past) agree with the posters sentiments that addiction is nothing but a weak character trait and a choice.
A massive stigma still exists against drug addiction. Much of it does come directly from ignorance. To an extent, I understand this, as trying to explain addiction to someone who has never experienced it is like trying to explain a color to someone who was blind since birth.
In short, I want to just say thank you to Illenium from one former heroin addict to another. Each day I see stories that prove each and every one of us is worthy of another chance at life. We are your friends, your family, and even your favorite artists. If you are struggling with addiction yourself or have someone close to you that you fear might be struggling, please see the resources below. Below the links, you can find Illenium's full post.