LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Mac Miller, Juice WRLD, Lil Peep & SMILEZ’ brother – a few of the victims of lethal, fentanyl-laced drug overdoses – are the motivation behind SMILEZ‘s latest release "Sit Back and Relax" produced by Ronny J, out now on all streaming platforms. With opioid overdoses claiming nearly 100,000 lives over the last year, SMILEZ is taking this message beyond the music by partnering with Victims of Illicit Drugs (VOID) – a non-profit organization bringing education, awareness, and legislative advocacy, on the immediate danger of sudden death associated with the use of illicit drugs, in particular fentanyl.
"This is the first time I’m letting my fans into my personal journey with drugs & alcohol," said SMILEZ "Losing my brother really inspired me to take action beyond the music and help prevent youth from falling victim to [fentanyl] laced drugs."
"SMILEZ music video brought tears to my eyes," said Bill Bodner, Head of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Los Angeles. "Showing real footage of him [SMILEZ] carrying his brother’s baby at his funeral really shows how damaging these drugs can be to families."
The LA-based rapper, who’s been sober for six years, taps into his personal journey with the epidemic as he recreates the setting of a Narcotics Anonymous Group Meeting in his new music video. As real families share stories of loved ones, they lost due to drugs laced with fentanyl, the video flashes back to home footage of SMILEZ’ brother, whom he lost to an accidental overdose in 2020. The video closes with the rapper standing up to share his brother’s story, while leaving viewers with the jarring statistic that more than 60% of opioid deaths have been caused by fentanyl laced drugs since 2017 [CDC., 2021].
"The message SMILEZ conveys in "Sit Back and Relax" is compelling and is tragically becoming a common theme throughout our country," said Jaime Puerta, VOID President. "If Fentanyl was gone, SMILEZ brother, my son, and thousands of others would still be amongst us. Fentanyl is a ‘poison’ and that word needs to be the defining narrative. Fentanyl changes everything!"
The organization, founded by surviving parents of fentanyl deaths, recently released a short film called Dead on Arrival, which served as a documentary/public safety announcement warning of the drug’s dangers. Through their new partnership with SMILEZ they aim to spread their mission to a wider demographic, particularly the next generation, in hopes of changing the stigmas surrounding these overdoses. With SMILEZ being a creative and immersed in social media culture, they plan to develop educational content together that will resonate to the masses.
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