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‘SNL’ skit of commercial for fake heroin pill upsets viewers

“Saturday Night Live” performed a mock commercial skit during the weekend joking about casual heroin usage, prompting several Massachusetts residents to sign an online petition demanding an apology.

The faux advertisement for Heroin AM imagines a pill that lets people abuse drugs without disrupting their days.

“I want to use heroin, but I also want to get stuff done. That’s why I reach for Heroin AM, the only nondrowsy heroin on the market,” said Saturday Night Live’s host, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who spoke while sitting next to a young boy playing with a toy car. “So I can get jacked on scag, and then get to work.”

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The segment also features SNL regulars Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennett, and Bobby Moynihan as other parents who use the pseudo drug.

An online petition created by a person identifying herself as a Hudson resident says the show should not have made light of the deadly scourge of addiction. An appeal soon appeared on Change.org asking SNL to apologize for the “tasteless” skit.

The petition had nearly 6,500 names attached to it by Monday evening. Organizers had set a goal of 5,000.

The skit “poked fun of a very real and deadly drug epidemic in America right now,” according to a post that accompanied the petition. “The skit was cruel and heartless.”

A “Saturday Night Live” representative did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.

Heroin addiction and opioid-related deaths have been rising steadily in Massachusetts, and opponents contend the skit was insensitive.

“It [showed] utter disrespect to those currently struggling daily with drug addiction and to those who have lost someone to heroin previously,” the petition states.

“They need to be held accountable. Free speech does not give you the right to be cruel.”

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The fake drug in the commercial combines heroin with caffeine and “a small pile of cocaine.”

“I have lost two of my three sons to heroin, it is no laughing matter,” a woman who said she was from Missouri wrote on the petition. “This was downright cruel.”


J.D. Capelouto can be reached at jd.capelouto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto.