Painless: The Opioid Musical

Personal Reflection

Musical Performance

“My mom finally gave up for the long haul
She sat there and waited, expecting the call
And I curse the day where this all began
How did that dream-filled boy become this man?”

– from Painless: The Musical

David Clayton, the Outreach Coordinator for Families Against Narcotics, provided a personal reflection on his journey from alcohol and drug addiction – which started with prescription opioids, and led to heroin and methamphetamine – into long-term recovery and his current role spreading awareness on addiction prevention and recovery across the state of Michigan.

“Statistics and medically backed research state I shouldn’t be here today – I should be incarcerated or dead,” Clayton said. “The fact that I don’t fit this stereotypical description of what a drug addict or alcoholic is supposed to look like kept me sick for a very long time.”

He credits a stint in a drug court for helping him remain sober after 11 years of substance abuse and episodic criminal activity and homelessness, and now helps guide several recovery programs.

Clayton provided a backdrop for a performance of songs from Painless: The Musical, one of which is based on his life experiences.

Painless: The Musical is a work in progress, inspired by true stories of opioid addiction and recovery, that will be performed for middle and high school students and accompanied by discussion and education. U-M rising senior Jacob Ryan Smith developed the musical and performed two of the songs with Emma Ashford, also a U-M rising senior.