Ryan Hampton was all set up for a career in politics: he made his first political donation at the age of 12, met Bill Clinton at the age of 13 and worked for Al Gore and Janet Reno while in college. All sounds rosy, yes? Well, the reality is that his childhood had been anything but (Hampton’s dad not only went to prison but kept his kids in the dark about it for years). After a hiking injury at the age of 23, Hampton became hooked on hydrocodone and, after being labeled a “drug seeker,” he—like many others—turned to heroin.
While he was lucky enough to find sobriety, other people he knew weren’t so lucky and he in fact lost three close friends to addiction in his first year clean. That’s when he decided to turn back to his first love. After being elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in July, 2016, Hampton drove out to Philadelphia, interviewing people whose lives were affected by addiction along the way. It was during that trip (which he documented for HuffPo) that Hampton was invited to meet with the President’s domestic policy advisors to discuss his mission and since then, he’s continued to call attention to the prevalence of addiction. In this episode, we talk about how to handle finding out that your dad has a secret life and why pill addicts turn to heroin, among many other topics.