Ethan Embry has revealed he has been battling opiate addiction for the last six years – including prescription painkillers and black tar heroin.
The star of the iconic teen dramedy Can’t Hardly Wait, who says he is now clean, spoke out in a series of tweets in response to news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered federal prosecutors to seek the harshest possible criminal penalties for drug offenders.
“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 38-year-old actor tweeted Friday.
“For decades we have told addicts that their behavior deserves punishment. That they should be locked away for their addictions,” he continued. “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 — who is also known for his appearances in ’90s classics Empire Records and That Thing You Do!, as well as in his recurring role as Carter in The Walking Dead — went on to discuss his own past with addiction.
“I was stuck in a cycle of running through a subutex script and smoking tar for about two straight years. 6 years ago today I started my kick,” he tweeted Sunday. “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 f—ing sucks.”
The actor invites his followers to direct message him for support and tips to help them through the difficult parts of getting clean, promising “there is an end in sight” and encouraging them to “find someone you can trust to walk you through it and get tough.”
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Embry shares that working out at the gym has helped him and admits that though he is clean now, he is still struggling with the challenge of with staying that way.
“None yet,” he replies when asked if he’s had any slip-ups. “Pretty sure I’ll have today in the bag. Might even get cocky and claim I’ll be clean tomorrow. But after that its fingers crossed.”
Sessions’ eight-paragraph memo, dated May 10, called for prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” … “including mandatory minimum sentences.” The memo went on to implore careful consideration of “whether an exception may be justified.”
This article originally appeared on People.com