Hamilton

Psychotherapist/rapper MC FUBB takes on deadly opioid crisis in new song

A registered psychotherapist from Burlington, Ont. is taking on Ontario's opioid crisis with a song calling for more compassion and awareness. Listen to Daniel Farb's new song, Opioid Crisis, as he explains how he thinks we need to change the way we deal with the damage done by these drugs.

Daniel Farb's new song is called Opioid Crisis

More than 600 people in Ontario died from opioid overdoses in the first six months of last year, according to data released in March by Public Health Ontario. 

That's about a 15 percent increase from 2017 and evidence of a growing crisis in the province. 

Daniel Farb, is one of many health care professionals who wants to do something about this crisis. He's a registered psychotherapist from Burlington, Ont. And a rapper, known as MC FUBB.

He has returned to hip hop for inspiration with a new song called Opioid Crisis.

A registered psychotherapist from Burlington, Ont. is taking on Ontario's opioid crisis with a song calling for more compassion and awareness. Listen to Daniel Farb's new song, Opioid Crisis, as he explains how he thinks we need to change the way we deal with the damage done by these drugs. 6:45

Farb spoke with the CBC's Conrad Collaco about the song and what he hopes it might do to help people understand the damage opioids can do. You can read an abridged and edited version of the interview or listen to the full audio interview by hitting the play button above. 

Daniel Farb, registered psychotherapist, rapper 
Daniel Farb is former rapper who is now a registered psychotherapist in Burlington, Ont. He has returned to hip hop in efforts to fight the province's opioids crisis. (Daniel Farb)

Why did you want to write a song about the opioid crisis?

For me, hip hop and writing has always been a mode of self-expression to try to work through different feelings and ideas and frustrations around the opioid crisis and the way that addiction is often talked about. I wanted to vent a lot of different thoughts and feelings on the song and hopefully try to raise some public awareness around the issue and help motivate people to think a little bit more complexly and have a more humanistic understanding about what's going on and affecting people.

When somebody dies of an overdose it affects everybody around them. That affect kind of ripples out.- Daniel Farb, psychotherapist and rapper 

What does your song say about the opioid crisis?  

The main message is to understand a couple things. One is that addiction is often about trying to self-medicate something whether that's pain, psychological trauma, emotional distress or just feeling lost or disenfranchised in the world. We all try to escape pain in a number of ways. We all have our own kind of addictions. Not all of them are going to take the extreme forms an opioid addiction will take but we all have the tendency to try to avoid things to distract ourselves. We're all kind of in the same boat. The opioid crisis should motivate us to reflect on that tendency and where we place our priorities and how we relate to people who are struggling and suffering. 

How has your training as a psychotherapist informed what you had to say about opioids?

It has given me insight into the underpinnings of addiction but also more compassion for those who are suffering, whether that's individuals struggling with addiction or the family members. When somebody dies of an overdose it affects everybody around them. That effect kind of ripples out.I don't work specifically in the addictions field, primarily but I have worked with a few different family members that either have a loved one who is currently addicted or struggling with addiction or has tragically died by an overdose. It's not just some random person dying in an alley way. These are people's husband's, children, parents who are struggling and not really getting the help they need.

What do your patients and others affected by opioids think about your song?

Most people haven't heard the song. It's just been released. For those that have heard it, I have had a very positive response. Somebody who works in the field heard the song and revealed to me afterward that her son died of an opioid overdose a few years ago. She was quite moved by it. It will definitely speak to people who already understand and relate to the issue. I'm hoping it will also speak to people who don't already have a lot of understanding or insight around addiction. I'm hoping it gets into the ears of some policy makers and politicians as well and maybe motivate them to learn more and consult more experts on these issues and get a more nuanced understanding about the factors that lead to addiction from a mental health perspective.

Is the opioid crisis something that has affected your own life?

Fortunately, I have not been directly affected. I have not been addicted and I don't have know anyone in my close life who has been addicted or died from opioids. I do have experience with addiction to other substances especially in my teenage years. I do have an in depth perspective on what it's like to be addicted and the struggles associated with that.

What are you hoping this song will achieve?  

I'm hoping it encourages everybody to be a little bit more compassionate and understanding. I'm hoping it will motivate people to advocate for more meaningful treatments for people not just biomedical treatments but also psychotherapeutic and psychological treatments. People need to address the underlying trauma and emotional issues that might be driving them to seek relief in the first place.

About the Author

Conrad Collaco is a CBC News producer for CBC Hamilton with extensive experience in online, television and radio news. Follow him on Twitter at @ConradCollaco, or email him at conrad.collaco@cbc.ca.

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