Drugs are not OK

I thought long and hard about what to say in this post. If it simply starts (or continues) a conversation for those who read it, then I have expressed what I have wanted to. I know it continues a conversation that I hold dear to myself because of my thoughts on human life and the people I know who have struggled with addiction.


I have seen one too many celebrity deaths related to drugs in the recent past.

It’s sad, it’s tragic, but it was also something that happened because he/she wasn’t taking care of himself/herself. I only understand addiction as explained to me by others and I don’t want to make it sound like it can easily be overcome, because I know that it can’t. But it is a choice made to start, and a choice made to recover.

People die everyday of drug overdoses, whether famous or not. People STRUGGLE every single day with fighting addiction and go completely unnoticed. It’s a life long battle for those who are entrenched in it. There is no cure, rehab doesn’t always work, and even if it does, it doesn’t mean the battle stops.

Another talented actor dies from a heroin overdose and everyone mourns. It is so sad for so many reasons. Great talents and creative minds fall prey to addiction, but it doesn’t mean that in death, they should be glorified for it.

I am sad because I genuinely liked the guy as an actor. I am also sad because I had no idea that said actor engaged in drug use. But I am also sad because I know that those who are famous and who have a voice that people listen to, won’t take a stand against drugs abuse and addiction when something needs to be said.

I don’t want to sound crude or unsympathetic, but drugs are not OK. Is that message being conveyed when these sorts of tragedies occur?

These famous actors, musicians and others  die at a young age and/or in a tragic way, with families left behind. They are remembered for there great talent, and their addiction is forgotten or swept under a rug. For an addict, the addiction is what they live for, yet we forget that in their death.  No one wants to or SHOULD be remembered for being a drug addict: that is not a characteristic that anyone should be proud of, and I am not saying dwell on that.

What I am saying is that in the sadness and the grief, how can we prevent this from happening again? How can we learn from this and pass a positive message on?

How can all these sad stories lead to help for ALL those who need it?

What message can we share with the loved ones we know who are struggling?
What message can we pass on to our children, who see these people in movies and television and idolize the life they live or the roles they play?
What message can we find for ourselves in the sadness?

When there is a lesson that can be learned and a message to pass on to fans, addicts and children, we need to know what to say or be able to point to those who are speaking out. (Hollywood’s silence or indifference speaks volumes to me.) We follow every move of those celebrities that we love, I hope and pray that the actions and words of those who so often use their voices to speak out on issues they believe in,  can send a message that Drugs are not OK and addiction, while difficult to over, takes REAL work and a life-long commitment to move past.



    • emily

      When someone is an addict it’s hard to distinguish between what is ‘better.’ I understand his point of view, but we do have to be careful in our response, because it was still a human life that is lost and it’s sad.

  • Erica Layne

    YES! I spent quite a bit of time drafting a post along these lines right after his death, but I never posted it because it didn’t feel like the right fit for my blog. But now I’m kind of wishing I had! Sadly, my thought at the time was, “well, maybe I’ll consider posting it after the next celebrity dies of an overdose.” Sounds horrible, but it IS happening more than it should, and we jump to calling it “tragic” every time.

    Anyway, articles popped up afterward in big publications talking about drug-user protection laws and measures that will help prevent overdoses. I DO seem some value in those, but all the articles missed the real mark—the power of personal choice. No matter how enslaved he was to his addiction (and I really do feel sad about that), at some point in the past, he had a choice.

    Anyway, just wanted to say I loved this. 🙂 In my long-winded way.

    • emily

      Thanks Erica, I appreciate your comment! This post came in response to several recent celebrity deaths, but also trying to better understand addiction and the personal battles that people close to me have experienced. That community, more than anyone else, wants to be portrayed accurately, and if I can help to do that and educate others, I want to!

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