Ethan Embry Discusses Sobriety, Drug Policy
On the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, actor Ethan Embry plays a recovering drug user named Coyote, Frankie’s wide-eyed and guileless adopted son—but he’s also recovering in real life.
May 14th marked six years sober for the 38-year-old actor. Around the same time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced to federal prosecutors his decision to bring back harsh mandatory minimum sentencing for everyone including low-level, non-violent drug offenders. Emery took to social media to voice his disdain.
“Opiate OD is the leading cause of preventable death in America at 50k last year alone. It’s a health crisis not a criminal one Mr. Sessions,” the actor wrote on his Twitter account on May 12th. He continued:
“First they attack our access to affordable treatment, then they send a memo that our sick should be thrown away and treated like criminals. I believe the first step to combatting the opiate crisis is dismantling the stigma attached to addiction. For decades we have told addicts that their behavior deserves punishment. That they should be locked away for their addictions. All that accomplishes is multiplying the shame that us addicts experience. It forces us to hide our addictions until it’s too late for help. So many people have died because they were afraid and ashamed. This memo from Sessions does nothing to address that. It only makes it worse.”
Embry then re-posted a tweet by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who issued the 2013 memo as attorney general that gave federal prosecutors greater discretion and the option to avoid triggering harsh mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenders.
“The policy announced today is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime,” Holder said in response to Sessions’ new memo. “It is an ideologically motivated, cookie-cutter approach that has only been proven to generate unfairly long sentences that are often applied indiscriminately and do little to achieve long-term public safety.”
Embry agreed. Two days later, on his sober anniversary, he was back on Twitter to offer some words of encouragement to people in need of recovery.
“I was stuck in a cycle of running through a Subutex script and smoking tar for about two straight years,” he wrote on Twitter on May 14th. “Six years ago today I started my kick.” He continued:
“If you are strung out on opiates and want to stop—but the fear of the kick is keeping you from it—I won’t lie it’s [awful]. But unlike the cycle you are in right now, there is an end in sight. Find someone you can trust to walk you through it and get tough. My DM’s are open if you need any help getting through the kick. There are little tricks that helped get me [to] lessen the pain. Life won’t get any easier for us when we sober up. But I do promise you’ll be better at dealing with what comes at you clean.”
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