The growing opioid problem in the U.S. has caught the attention of Nancy McCallum, the mother of former Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley. In a new interview, she recalled her son's losing battle with heroin and railed against doctors who are too quick to prescribe addictive painkillers.

“Addiction is a disease like any other,” she told the Seattle Times. “Like a cancer, it can be treated, but it can also reoccur. We shouldn’t judge. The emphasis should be on research and treatment.”

But while McCallum believes in the 12-step process, she's wary of programs that promise a cure for addiction, suggesting that profit, and not the health of the addict, is the motive. “When someone is charging you thousands of dollars, promising they will heal addiction," she continued, "far away from home or with religion, you are being misled.”

Layne Staley's 86-pound body was discovered on April 19, 2002 by police who, with McCallum's permission, broke down his door after he didn't answer. A syringe was stuck in his leg and another loaded syringe was in his hand. It was estimated that he died two weeks prior. This Tuesday, Aug. 22, would have been his 50th birthday.

“I will never be able to understand even trying something that is so dangerous,” McCallum continued. “I’m as bewildered as the next person, because I see a beautiful world.”

McCallum said that Staley's music was about the "life of an addict" and that his songs should serve as a "warning" to those who may find themselves tempted to try opioids. Her only experience with the drug, she said, was when she had been prescribed a supply following dental work five years ago. After taking one, she decided to go without them, and sent them back to the doctor with a message: "Shame on you. You get rid of these."

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