Eric Bolling climbed onto the main stage at CPAC and delivered what no one ever wants to have to say.
"I am an accidental opioid expert."
What followed was part eulogy and part straight-up retelling of a massive loss.
Keep in mind that the rest of the speeches I heard at CPAC were mainly partisan jabs at the left, or even the center. But clearly Bolling’s was going to be different.
Bolling detailed how he and his wife got a phone call shortly after his contract was severed with Fox News last fall. They had gone out to dinner, they were on their way home, she was driving, and the phone rang. A sobbing friend of their son told them he had overdosed and died while at college in Colorado.
In the weeks that followed the tragic death of Eric Chase Bolling, his parents learned that he had taken a Percocet which had been, unbeknownst to him, laced with the synthetic opioid Fentanyl. It is 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. And now his father is an "accidental opioid expert."
You might ask why at CPAC.
Bolling told me that it took some urging by CPAC to get him to speak here, mere months after losing his son. But for him it's the number one thing that has to change about the Conservative movement. Moreover, it is unquestionably a nonpartisan issue.
"I will tell you Matt Schlapp (CPAC's organizer) took a step out of the normal CPAC, let's call it, "lane" and decided to pull me in to talk about it. I think for the conservatives, it has almost been a stigma on conservatives to talk about something like opioid vulnerabilities. I think as we raise awareness it will attract a lot more attention. I really think so."
More than 64 thousand Americans died from drug overdose deaths in 2016, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse and the sharpest increase was due to opioids which killed 20 thousand people.
"I cannot believe the overwhelming support of young people here talking about stories of their own abuse or stories of friend's abuse or family member's abuse. It's a really widespread epidemic, " he said.
Asked whether he thinks that this topic will have to mature even more before conservatives really latch on to it, he took it a step further, "It's not even ready to mature, right now it's just getting the light of day."
Clearly he is the man for this enormous mission. Just weeks after he buried his son, he took to Twitter:
For your consideration: my twitter has become a clearinghouse for the #OpdiodCrisis...
I think we can all agree that it is time to put aside stigma and bias to take this issue further and prevent Congress from making this anything other than a nonpartisan issue.
Below is his speech. It’s only 10 minutes, but it is worth watching no matter which side of the aisle you reside, or which ideology you subscribe.
Update: Thank you Eric!