Long Island native and former bad boy Michael Lohan, father of actress Lindsay Lohan, has joined forces with a music producer to launch a nationwide movement to promote anti-drug abuse messages through music. And he’s bringing it home.
He and an Atlanta-based partner started a nonprofit called Recover or Die America and are organizing a hip-hop concert fundraiser for it in Suffolk County. Proceeds will go toward providing inpatient treatment to uninsured people suffering from substance abuse and addiction.
The event, to be held at the Amphitheater at Bald Hill in Farmingville on Sept. 29, is one leg of a national tour. Recover or Die America (ROD) is aimed at “education and awareness of the devastating effects of opioid and heroin abuse and curbing drug addiction in the United States,” according to its website.
Famed rappers Fat Joe and Rick Ross are headlining the September performance. They’re being joined by Jacquees and 5ive Mics. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. You might remember Bronx-born Fat Joe’s “Lean Back” and his “What’s Luv?” duet with Ashanti. And Ross’s “Hustlin’” and “Hold me Back.”
Lohan says there will be surprise celebrity appearances and speakers in recovery at the event – before and after the 7 p.m. main performance.
“We’re going to do whatever we can to make sure that if someone wants help – to get clean and sober – it’s available to them,” Lohan says. “Come down the day of the show and get connected. There will be a surprise guest you’ll all love to see.”
His partner, David “Showbiz” Rosario, is a 28-year entertainment management and marketing veteran who says he has witnessed the effects of substance abuse within the entertainment industry. He says he’s promoted performers including Boys II Men, Mariah Carey, Naughty by Nature and Queen Latifah, to name a few.
“Artists’ songs made it cool to be high, glorified it – and I’ve been the person pushing the message,” Rosario says. “Perfect example. The rapper Future had a song called Molly Percoset. I promoted that album. It’s about popping pills, being effed up. And I’m the guy pushing the music. I’m the pusher, the dope man.”
Rosario said realizing he’s part of the problem caused him to think about now becoming part of the solution.
“That means taking that same resume, same drive and same experience and trying to push a positive message,” he says.
According to its website, Recover or Die is on a “mission to save lives, families and the world.”
Since forming in November 2017, the organization has been joined by addiction specialists and representatives from recovery centers across the country. Among them are Tim Ryan, recovery advocate and author of From Dope to Hope and Pastor Jimmy Jack from Teen Challenge.
Lohan said ROD has already become so inundated with calls for help accessing substance abuse treatment that it’s had to open a call center to field the requests. He says first and foremost, ROD wants to help those without health insurance, pregnant women, and veterans get substance abuse treatment. This means everything from detox to rehab to long-term treatment centers, aftercare or sober living, and then on to job training and placement. Applicants would be vetted before a scholarship is granted.
“The music industry has a big influence on kids,” Rosario says. “The music industry has made millions off the suffering of these kids; it’s time they give back. This is a way for the hip-hop music industry to give back. All these artists are drug free. All want to be on board. It’s going to take us bringing the artist and their consumer together in concert.”
Lohan said he chose Long Island because “it’s where I’m from.”
“We know how bad the problem is [here] and it’s affected so many people and families I know,” Lohan says. “We want to bring people together to fight this from the ground up.”
To reach an addiction specialist associated with Recover or Die, 24/7, call 855-222-8524.