Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whitney Tormented by Drugs

Although we do not have the written autopsy report from the death of Whitney Houston, there is a good chance that we will read that drugs and alcohol were contributors to her passing. Once again, we watch a person with a God-given gift and tremendous talent succumb to drug addiction. This begs the question as to why this happens? Did those around her not want to interfere? Were they so star-struck that they could not take her to a facility where she could get help? Did they think this was a boundary issue and that they should mind their own business?

Whatever, the justifications, the bottom line is we lost a magnificent talent far too soon because no one intervened. In the 1970's Time magazine had a cover page with the question: ARE WE OUR BROTHER'S KEEPER? In a world where opioid dependence and prescription drug abuse is an epidemic, the answer is 'we need to be'. We cannot turn our heads or backs when we see drug abuse. We need to intervene when someone gets behind the wheel after smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol.We have to say 'not in our family' when a teen takes pills that are not prescribed. It is time we take our heads out of the sand and step up to stop addiction before we lose another angelic voice. RIP Whitney.


Abner11 said...

I agree with the central point (that we have to be our proverbial brother's keeper) surrounding prescription abuse.

We do have an obligation to intervene when we see behaviors spiraling out of control. But we also run the risk of teetering on the edge of becoming a police state. Because of shows like "Intervention" and the extensive media coverage of the Whitney Houston case (and others like it), millions of people now consider themselves amateur drug abuse specialists. "Percocet" and "Xanax" and "Ativan" have become trigger words to the otherwise uninformed, and somehow implies that a person who takes these drugs is a de facto addict, when in fact the people who are addicted to them are the small minority (and generally not the person to whom they are prescribed).

SneakyPoodle said...

I am just so sad about Whitney's death. It's especially difficult to have looked up to her for her inspirational talent and now watch her get exposed by the media for being the drug addict she was during her later years. It should be a lesson for other celebrities out there: You can be the king/queen of your industry - but regardless of the good you bring into the world, any bad will be highlighted 10 fold.

Dr. Alicen said...

Dear Abner11, I agree we do not need the spector of a police state hanging over any of us by imposing ourselves into the business of others. So there is a fine line which we have to walk before intervening. My point is that with celebrities people often overlook addiction red flags and pass them off as idiosyncracies. There is a time when the rich and famous have to be alerted that their behaviours are way out of the norm. And someone has to have the courage to do it. Thanks!

Dr. Alicen said...

Dear Sneaky Poodle,
It is a loss for all of us when a person with such talent passes too soon. I feel sad as well but for a slightly different reason. Someone with such a beautiful voice that touched so many lives, should have been filled with happiness. Yet Whitney Houston, like so many others, used drugs to change the way she felt. So it seems that happiness eluded her on some level. How sad. Maybe now she can rest in peace. Thanks!

AJ722 said...

Whitney's death was such a disappointment, but not a shock to me. This may sound awful but I was angered by it. After all this time and all her fame and fortune she still couldn't get her life together? Not even after all that she went through with her ex husband. She was such an extraordinary talent, with an amazing heart and the support of a great family and tight knit church, how could she, of all people not overcome this?
I'm often irritated by how many people in Hollywood that we watch slowly throw their lives away (Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Heath Ledger, etc...) and the public, their "friends", family and their agents don't seem to do much at all. If anything they seem to make it worse. Where are their parents?! Where are their friends?! Where's the intervention?! Maybe all of their families did try, maybe their friends pleaded, maybe their agents cut them...I hope so, but the truth is although support is vital, its only YOU who can truly make the change. Prayers to all addicts for the strength to do so.

AJ722 said...
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Dr. Alicen said...

Dear AJ, your points are very well taken. Sometimes people who surround celebrities are fearful that if they intervene in a particularly harmful behavior pattern, the star will reject them. So they say nothing. They want to be near the rich and famous even if the behaviors they witness are life-threatening. This may have been the case with Whitney.

It takes courage to step up whether you are the observer or the addict. The observer needs to do an intervention, even if the friendship is in jeopardy.

The addict needs to stop. And that means gathering support, becoming abstinent, gaining insight into the addictive disorder, and learning about relapse prevention. But the person with the addiction needs to step up. Change takes time, but sobriety represents freedom and the time invested is well worth it.