The National Safety Council extends its deepest sympathies to Tom Petty’s family, friends, band members and millions of fans as they grapple not only with his loss, but also with the knowledge that the musical icon was taken far too soon because of a preventable opioid-involved overdose. The opioid crisis silences more than 100 incredible voices every day, and the numbers continue rising.
We know Petty was right when he sang, “There ain’t no easy way out.” Indeed, there is no silver bullet for ending opioid misuse. But there are several things we can do including emptying medicine cabinets of unused pills, affixing “Opioids: Warn Me” labels to insurance cards so doctors know to discuss alternative pain relief options, and advocating for easy and affordable access to treatment. We also commend Petty’s family for encouraging a dialogue about opioid misuse in the wake of this report. As his family rightly notes, many people who overdose begin using opioids following an injury, and they may not understand the risks. Artists and the music industry have an incredible platform from which to raise awareness and create change, and we urge them to follow the Petty family’s lead and use it.
Petty famously sang, “I will stand my ground.” We join the Heartbreakers on the chorus “and we won’t back down” until we reverse this trend and Stop Everyday Killers.