When I first heard the news of Whitney’s death, I felt the shock zap I always feel when anyone dies. In subsequent conversations I noticed a trend for the immediate response to be “‘I’m not surprised” or “who didn’t see that coming?”
I received this email from Bill O’Reilly today that talks about the seriousness of substance abuse in our society. I hope that people will pay more attention and do what they can to speak up and hopefully make a difference.
Why Whitney Died
…the Whitney Houston story should be covered as a cautionary tale—another life vanquished by substance abuse.
The media has no bleepin’ clue how to cover the death of Whitney Houston. That’s because she was slowly dying for years, and many in the press simply averted their eyes. It was ultra-disturbing that a beautiful woman blessed with an extraordinary singing voice chose a self-destructive path in full view of the world. I mean, here is a person who signed a $100 million recording contract, actually sold 170 million albums, and commanded high six figures to deliver a 90-minute concert. Ms. Houston was a genuine worldwide star, yet was often seen in public disheveled and confused, her substance addiction apparent. The media simply did not know what to say.
We live in a time where addiction is categorized as a disease, and to do what Nancy Reagan once did, urge people to reject narcotics, is considered uncool. How many young performers do we see doing public service announcements warning children to avoid intoxication? Right now, I can’t think of one.
The national media prides itself on being non-judgmental unless you are against abortion. Then you are dismissed as “anti-woman” or a religious zealot. But in the arena of personal behavior, there’s an excuse for just about every non-violent activity or bad decision.
There is no question that some of us have a history of addiction in our families. There are folks who can use drugs casually and avoid dependence. But they are the exception. Once a person decides to dabble in cocaine, or opiates like heroin and Oxycontin, they are putting themselves at grave risk. And they know it. There are legends of famous people who wound up dead just like Whitney Houston. From Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson, the signposts are impossible to miss. No matter how rich and powerful you are, drugs can and will destroy you.