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BUFFALO, NY-July 2, 2016

What happens when a Buffalo music powerhouse and a doggedly determined non-profit come together in a musical partnership? Funk for a cause. On July 2, 2016, musical mega-talent Eric “Critt” Crittenden will partner with music-scene notables and local non-profit organization Save the Michaels of the World, Inc. in an effort to bring awareness to the opioid drug epidemic in America.

An event to honor the late, legendary Prince Rogers Nelson, The Purple Party is a celebration of a musical icon geared towards calling attention to the epidemic that took his life.

On April 21, 2016, prolific musician, songwriter and vocalist Prince was found dead at age 57 in his Paisley Park home. A legend had been snatched right out from his musical realm, and the world mourned.
As music lovers everywhere struggled to come to grips with the loss of an idol, details slowly emerged regarding the circumstances of his death. Whispers of hip injuries and pain killers, and echoes of a recent Narcan save during an emergency plane landing washed the newsfeeds.

Despite rumors, social media en masse unitarily appeared to reject the notion that drugs, even the prescription variety, might have been responsible for Prince’s death. By all accounts, the legend had led a crispy-clean lifestyle for years. No longer identified with his hard-partying past, according to his own admission, he had found God and been squeaky-clean for over a decade.

So was the passing of Prince another incident like the recent death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman? A momentary lapse in sobriety leading to a tragic loss of life? The consensus of those who knew him best was a resounding “NO”. Those closest to him argued that the only drugs Prince was putting into his body were the prescription opioids prescribed by his physicians for chronic hip pain following years of stage dancing. And if it was prescribed by a doctor, it couldn’t be dangerous or addictive or deadly. Could it?

Actually it could. Surprising to some, prescription opioids are an only slightly altered version of the opium plant.

Opium. The plant responsible for the laundalum addiction of Mary Todd Lincoln, the plant which caused tens of thousands of soldiers to return home from the Civil War addicted to morphine, and the very plant from which heroin is derived.

While most recognize heroin as a highly addictive and potentially deadly drug, few realize that the opioids prescribed by physicians are nearly indistinguishable from heroin in chemical make-up.
Even more surprising is that overdose deaths have tripled in the past ten years in the United States, exceeding deaths by both auto accident and gun violence to become the most common form of accidental death in America. Although maybe NOT as surprising when one considers that ninety percent of the world’s opiates are consumed in the United States. That isn’t a typo. 90% of opiates in the WORLD are consumed by Americans. Can Americans really be in so much more pain than the rest of the world?
But when you factor in a multi-billion dollar profit from pain-killer products into the bottom-line of the pharmaceutical industry’s financials, maybe it isn’t so surprising at all.

None of this is news to Critt, or to the leaders of WNY non-profit Save the Michaels of the World, Inc. With a mission to raise awareness and provide education about the opioid and heroin epidemic, STMOTW has become a leader in the battle against opiate abuse and death, both locally and statewide.

For Buffalo native Crittenden, involving Save the Michaels in The Purple Party was a no brainer. “The reckless prescribing of opioids is well beyond an epidemic at this point. It is pure genocide”, says Critt. “Music can give those impacted a voice when, by and large, the pharmas and politicos are conveniently ignorant and mute.”

He says his hope all along was to both celebrate the music and influences of Prince while supporting the cause. With these efforts, STMOTW will receive a portion of the proceeds from The Purple Party which will be used for direct services in the battle against the opioid crisis. Save the Michaels provides community-based educational forums and informational workshops on preventing opioid abuse and managing addiction.

The Purple Party boasts many musicians of note, including Progger, Will Holton, Zuri Appleby and many more. The original brainchild of comedian and musician Sinbad, the event is hosted by Buffalo Iron Works and will feature ten musical acts for the advanced sale price of $10. Doors are at 8:00 pm.
For tickets and information, go to The Purple Party: A Prince Revolution at ticketfly.com

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