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Alumnus and Ghana native starts campaign to stop stigma of opioid addiction

When Liberty University alumnus Lewis Kofi Nana Antwi (’12, ’19) moved from Ghana to the United States in 2006, he had no idea that years later he would become a singer, songwriter, owner of a record label, and a public health official — all while attempting to change the stereotypes of people struggling with opioid addiction.

Lewis Kofi Nana Antwi

“I came to the states in 2006 and my main reason for coming was school,” Antwi said. “My ultimate goal was to receive excellent education, and Liberty provided that.”

Antwi was born and raised in Ghana and always had a love and passion for writing and singing songs. He began to write his own music when he was 6.

“I’ve been writing music now for 25 years,” Antwi said. “I’ve always had that passion.”

Antwi decided to move to the states when he was 22 and lived in Florida while he pursued a degree in Business Administration through Liberty University Online Programs in 2012. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman where he served for five years.

In May of 2012, Antwi officially registered the independent record label Sound Lion Records. The label has distributed music all over the world for almost 50 different artists but is focused on spreading music created by African artists and is highly engaged in music and songs that address social and public health issues.

“According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that globally around 164 million people had an alcohol or drug use disorder in 2016,” Antwi said. “According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2 million people had an opioid use disorder in 2018 and on average 130 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.”

After his time serving in the Navy, Antwi transitioned to become a commissioned officer at the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 2015, where he was assigned to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an investigator. He enrolled in Liberty’s online Master of Arts in Executive Leadership and completed his degree in 2019.

“Opioids and Addiction is part of the U.S Surgeon General’s priorities. Therefore as a public health officer, songwriter, and record label owner, I felt the best way to raise more awareness to this issue is by using music,” Antwi said.

“I strongly believe in supporting individuals and families struggling with addiction and mental health,” he continued. “I also hope to use my music to stop stigmatization to addiction and mental health.”

Antwi is using his new song, Mama Don’t Give Up,” to begin his global campaign to bring awareness to opioid addiction.

“Addiction is a disease of the brain, not lack of will,” Antwi said. “As a society, as one nation, and as one global body, let’s support our loved ones struggling with disease.”

After the album release in 2021, Sound Lion Records will freely distribute  2000 CDs to addiction recovery institutions around the world and also will be donating 25 percent of the proceeds from the “Mama Don’t Give Up” project to institutions and organizations assisting individuals and families struggling with addiction.

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