Saturday Night Live ran a pair of skits in its most recent episode about heroin and opiate use and that put Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt over the edge.
On Saturday, April 16, 2016, Saturday Night Live (SNL) aired a skit called “Heroin AM” which made light of the effects of heroin and those who use it.
The skit, whether intended or not, appeared to promote the use of this deadly drug. The lack of sensitivity for the families of those who have lost loved ones to heroin, and those who are fighting the addiction from this deadly drug was shocking. The skit was distasteful, inappropriate, and irresponsible.
Sheriff Dale Schmidt responded to this by saying “I am angered and frustrated that a national television network would allow SNL to use humor and diminish the importance of something that has been legitimately called an epidemic in our country.”
Another skit in the very same episode attempted to be comedic about a person who was not a pharmacist who came in off the street to a national drug store chain, and began handing out prescription drugs as though that was funny. With opiate prescription drugs being a gateway to heroin use, it seems to shows utter disregard for the seriousness of what is going on in our country in regards to this deadly addiction.
Ron Naab of Allenton is a volunteer firefighter and a volunteer with Elevate. He said the promotion of heroin made him angry.
“We have families that have dealt with the loss of a loved one to this terrible addiction,” Naab said. “We have people in recovery that fight every day to stay sober. As a first responder and an active volunteer involved in advocacy and educating about the opiate problem this was a very disappointing way for Saturday Night Live to entertain.”
Following this skit Schmidt sent a letter to NBC expressing his concern and asked NBC to take action to remedy the situation.
Those remedies included taking appropriate measures to ensure broadcasts like this do not happen again, a request of the network to help take a stand in fighting this deadly addiction, and urging NBC to reach out and apologize to those who suffer and are victimized by this extraordinarily addictive drug.
“Law enforcement, human service agencies, and community groups are doing what they can to save lives, and this nationally-broadcast program sent the wrong message to our youth,” said Schmidt. ” We must continue our educational efforts to combat these dialogs that are out there. There is nothing funny about heroin addiction.”
Schmidt said in a statement: Regardless of this unfortunate incident, as a community we can use this as an opportunity to once again have a conversation about the fight against heroin and the misuse of opiate prescription drugs. We can use this to educate our families, friends, and neighbors on the warning signs, dangers, and treatment options that are available. Those who have lost someone to heroin know the helpless feeling of not being able to save their loved one. It is imperative that we work together to find solutions instead of making light of a situation that only grows worse every day.
Naab said he would invite anyone to the Opiate Community Awareness program on Sunday, May 22 at St. Gabriel’s Church in Richfield. The program begins at 6:30 p.m.