The recent Whitney Houston drugs addiction related death makes me again think about the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse problems among celebrities. It seems as though everyday there’s a new celebrity in the news for their troubles with drugs or alcohol. I’m not overly surprised by this – there are SO many people in the world who are affected by addiction, and celebrities live a life that isn’t particularly conducive to abstaining from drugs and alcohol.
What I can’t understand is why we as a society are still in such denial about the problems people face due to drug and alcohol use. Is it really more important to make money and sell magazines than to actually try to get people the help they desperately need?
A few days ago, I read that Mike Sorrentino (The Situation from Jersey Shore) just entered a treatment facility for alcoholism and prescription drug abuse.
I can’t say I was surprised by this, as I imagine most people weren’t. I certainly hope he gets the help he needs, but why don’t other people feel this way? Why would people rather watch him destroy his mind and his body with drugs and alcohol than to see him actually get better?
Sure, he’s a TV ‘character,’ but he also happens to be a real person with a real disease. I personally would sacrifice my Thursday night entertainment if it meant that he would get sober and be given the support he needs.
The producers of the show are worried now that the show will be boring if Mike is sober. If he isn’t sober, then they’re responsible for letting an alcoholic continue to drink and destroy himself for the sole purpose of making money. What troubles me the most is the message this sends to everyone who watches this show and reads the news. If you are an alcoholic, you can be famous and you can be rich – but only if you don’t get treatment!
Sure, there are a lot of actors, singers, producers and famous people who are in recovery. But I think it’s pretty safe to say that they’re not in the news quite as often as the people who are struggling. What is it about us that we love to watch people hurt themselves? You can turn on any episode of the Jersey Shore and see that probably all of them shouldn’t drink so much. It’s not news – it’s common sense.
And then of course, there’s Whitney Houston drugs addiction and alcohol-related death. Whitney Houston’s toxicology report came back showing that there was cocaine, marijuana, Benadryl, Xanax, and a muscle relaxant in her system at the time of her death. I am saddened any time someone is hurt or passes away, and even more saddened when someone passes away due to drugs or alcohol. It seems like such a preventable death, but some people never get the help they need.
I feel for Whitney Houston's family and her friends, and I certainly don’t want to say anything negative about her. Whitney Houston drugs addiction is a sad thing. She is a legend, and I have no right to come down on her – she had a disease and was unable to fight it. What I can’t understand is why the people around her didn’t try harder to get her the help she needed.
Maybe I’m being naïve – I know it’s not as easy as it sounds to get someone to get sober or to accept treatment. But at some point, people need to stop being ashamed about their problems with drugs and alcohol. It is not shameful to be an addict or an alcoholic. It is not shameful to have a family member who is struggling to get clean. When will our society realize this?
Maybe you disagree – maybe you think that addiction is all over the news and it’s no longer a secret or something that people are ashamed of. I disagree. I think people, celebrities and everyone else in the world are still afraid to ask for help. People are still afraid of the stigma that addiction carries.
Any death is sad, but the deaths that are directly due to drug abuse really get to me. There are things in life that are more important than fame and fortune. There are things in life that are more important than what people think of you. In the end, if you are conquered by drugs and alcohol, none of these things matter. I’d rather be judged for having an addiction and get the help I need than to throw my life away to drugs and alcohol.
What do you think? I'd like to hear your comments.