It’s the Drugs, Stupid

Everyone is still boggling over Whitney Houston’s death.  It’s a tragedy.  It’s awful.  It’s a life cut short.  People say a lot of things about what happened to her.  But what you don’t hear a lot of is the simple fact that drugs killed her.  

Illegal drugs like marijuana and crack cocaine and who knows what else.  Legal drugs prescribed to her by physicians for a variety of issues undoubtedly real and imagined.  But the people who make their livelihood in one way or another from the entertainment industry seem loathe to say this straight out and without any sort of beating around the bush.  
I think that this article is an interesting example.   The headline is that “show business” killed Whitney.  But the actual quotes from Celine Dion stress the role of drugs.  Yes, those drugs were taken in the show business industry by an entertainer and her retinue of family and friends and associates.  
This article does almost the exact same thing with the same quotes.  Although Dion mentions drugs multiple times in her few quotes, the article focuses on the dangers of “show business”.  In fact, the first article includes Dion’s full quote and she says she’s afraid not only of show business but also drugs, yet the article doesn’t seem to want to highlight outside of Dion’s own words.
But if Whitney hadn’t been in show business, and had done the exact same drugs, the exact same thing would have happened.  She would be dead.  Show business didn’t kill her.  Drugs killed her.
Likewise, while Celine can speak sympathetically about the dangers of show business, she is an example that drugs are not synonymous with the industry.  It is possible to be in show business and not be consumed by drugs.  I would hope that it’s possible to be in show business without consuming drugs as well, but I can’t venture to guess how many folks in the industry never touch the stuff.  
Our country suffers from a split personality on the issue of drugs, with many in show business and the media arguing that drugs ought to be legal, even as those same drugs destroy the lives of those very people over and over again.  Marilyn Monroe.  Lenny Bruce.  Elvis Presley.  John Belushi.  John Bonham. John Candy.   Kurt Cobain.  John Entwistle.  Amy Winehouse.  Chris Farley.  Whitney Houston.  The list is rather extensive.  Yet still the people who apparently seem most caught up in the drug culture insist that it should be legalized for everyone.  
Whitney’s death is no surprise, unless it’s a surprise that she survived as long as she did.  None of these people’s death should be a surprise to anyone who knew them well enough to know of the drugs they consumed.  We live in a world of cause and effect – though many would prefer to ignore this basic truth.  
It’s not show business, though show business certainly provides plenty of pressure, incentive, and access.  It’s the drugs, stupid.

2 Responses to “It’s the Drugs, Stupid”

  1. Melani Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Drugs kill people not the “industry” or being a super star. People forget that movie stars and rock stars are just people too, and they have the same choices we do, do drugs or don’t. It is too bad Whitney just never “got it” and stayed clean, or she would be alive today. I hope Hayden can “get it” before it’s too late.

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    There’s certainly a long history of drugs and the entertainment world.  Plenty of time for those involved in that industry to grow comfortable and accustomed to it.  Plenty of time for the media to recognize that it can be profitable to detail the exploits of alcohol and drug-fueled binges and crashes both personal and material, but that it’s rarely profitable to take the side of the law.  Our country is plagued by first permissiveness and now more activist insistence that drugs are wonderful things that should be legal and available to everyone.  And people keep dying.  The occasional rock or movie star is apparently a bearable loss.  But all the other people who die every day because of drugs, who lose their ability to function, work, relate, and survive…those folks don’t often make the front page.  I think there’s an assumption that drugs can be done safely and smartly, that you can indulge in your favorite poison so long as you don’t let it get the better of you.  But for many people, that’s not a possibility, and the indulgence soon becomes the master.  

    I pray for Hayden.  May he make the hard but possible choices now, before others have to make them for him.

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