“You can’t give another drug to somebody who is already an addict. It just makes them stuck on stupid and addicted. There’s got to be something better,” talk show host Wendy Williams Hunter told Bold TV’s Lyndsay Christian about her timely work to fight opioid addiction, just as the Centers For Disease Control reported that U.S. life expectancy declined for a second year in a row in 2017, in part due to increases in drug addiction and suicides.
In light of troubling trends, Williams and her family decided to make drug addiction — particularly opioid addiction — the focus of their family foundation after seeing how opioids were affecting the country, particularly children. Williams started The Hunter Foundation in 2014 with her husband and son when they all agreed they wanted to find a way to give back to the community.
“At the time, people were falling out on K2 and nobody knew what it was. Now, it’s all over the country,” Williams said at a fundraiser for her foundation hosted at Dylan’s Candy Bar in Manhattan. Williams said she would love for her foundation to have facilities with “qualified counselors” to help rehabilitate opioid addicts.
“I don’t think what we have is the answer, in the case of these zombie drugs,” Williams said. “I’ve seen it, it’s not the answer.”
Williams was joined at her fundraising event by celebrities like former NFL player Erik Coleman, Actor Jerry O’ Connell and Dr. Oz.
“As a former NFL player, I believe we’ve been given a platform and whatever we can do to help raise awareness for great causes, that’s near and dear to my heart,” Coleman told Bold TV. Coleman shared that both his parents were addicts and he said he understands what it is like to come from a home where drugs are prevalent and you don’t know where to go. Due to his home life as a child, Coleman tries to help combat addiction wherever he can.
Dr. Oz, who has worked with Williams in the past, also attended the fundraiser.
“I’ve been on the streets of NYC but also around the country, and you see there is hope out there,” Oz told Bold TV. “You don’t want to stifle it; you want to get behind it the way The Hunter Foundation does.”
The Hunter Foundation has recently teamed up with Snackpop.com; online purchases between now and January 7 will benefit the foundation’s efforts to provide resources for drug education, prevention and rehabilitation programs.
Opioid addiction has been a central headline the past few years, especially with the recent CDC report which stated more than 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017 alone. Additionally, on October 24th, President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan opioid bill, which aims to focus on researching new pain management drugs without an addiction probability as well as provides more access for the treatment of abuse in Medicaid patients. The bill received an overwhelming majority in both the House and Senate before it was sent to President Trump to sign.
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Editor’s Note: Footage of the event was shot by Justin Crawford.