Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Letter to Lorne Michaels - International Overdose Awareness Day

I sent the following letter to Lorne Michaels, producer of Saturday Night Live.  In April SNL aired an offensive parody of a commercial for a product called "Heroin AM".  I wrote Mr. Michaels and informed him of my displeasure at the time.  I received no response.  I will continue to pursue him until such time as I receive a proper response.  Here is the letter I wrote for International Overdose Awareness Day.

William H. Williams
220 West 98th Street
Apartment 5-A
New York, NY  10025

August 31, 2016

Mr. Lorne Michaels
Saturday Night Live
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Dear Mr. Michaels:

On April 17th of this year I wrote to you expressing my dismay over SNL’s ill conceived “Heroin AM” satire.  Here is the link to what I posted on my blog to help refresh your memory:

I was not alone in my disappointment, as you must be aware.  My friend Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO of Partnership for Drug Free Kids wrote you, along with many others, including numerous readers of my blog.  That blog piece continues to attract attention daily.  As of this writing, there have been 21,685 hits. Clearly you struck a raw nerve.  Nor has the pain subsided. 
Why do I write you now?  August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day.  It seems an appropriate day to remind you that the epidemic, which kills 129 Americans daily, has not diminished.  If anything, it gets worse.

As I’ve reflected with friends wiser than I on my initial letter to you, I’ve tried to come up with a more positive message. I was struck by something Ms. Taylor wrote you:  “…we don’t need parodies, we need solutions and resources. We need influencers like you, who have worked side by side with people affected by addiction, to join us in insisting that attention be paid, and resources devoted to preventing and healing this disease.”

In honor of your SNL colleagues who have succumbed to addiction, in honor of my son William, I ask that you and I find a time when we might meet to discuss solutions and resources.  I write in the hope that together we might help direct the proper and necessary attention to preventing and healing this disease. 

Without such attention the disease and the epidemic will not go away.  Please understand that my goal is to be positive and productive; the time for me to scold you is past.  The time to act is before us.  I can be patient.  I am persistent.  You need to know I’ve spoken before three Congressional committees, once before a U. S. Senate Addiction Forum, and addressed scientists and administrators at the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the invitation of its director, Dr. Nora Volkow.  In addition I’ve spoken to community groups and schools.  I will not rest until we have effected change in the battle against this disease.  I will not rest until I have had a chance to engage you in this endeavor.  

I am happy to come to you at a time and place most convenient for you.  I look forward to your response.  Said response would be the best personal outcome I could imagine as a result of International Overdose Awareness Day.

Respectfully yours,

Bill Williams

Cc:       Stephen B. Burke
            Marcia Lee Taylor   


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