While it is of course in the best interest of drug addicts to get inpatient substance abuse treatment from rehab centers before their lives are threatened by their addiction, sometimes it takes an event such as an overdose before people will realize that they need help. Many former addicts have said that it was only after they hit rock-bottom did they understand how drugs and alcohol had taken over their lives, which is why it is not uncommon to hear stories about people waking up in hospital beds and finally deciding that it is time to regain control of their lives.
Recently, The Huffington Post reported that Oprah Winfrey sat down with actor Gary Busey, who spent many years of his life addicted to cocaine. He said it was only after a life-threatening overdose in 1995 that he was able to give up the drug.
“Cocaine was my devil that I danced with in my life,” Busey told Winfrey. “The devil has been sent away and now I dance with nothing but angels.”
Busey’s story inspired The Huffington Post to compile a list of other times that celebrities had opened up about past drug abuse and their struggle to overcome addiction. For example, singer Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers wrote in his 2005 memoir “Scar Tissue” that he spent years on drugs before finally embracing a healthy lifestyle. Also, in 1989 Drew Barrymore told People magazine that she had struggled with addiction from a remarkably young age, and she began using drugs due to pressure from older people around her.
When I was [a little over age 10] I was sitting in a room with a group of young adults who were smoking pot. I wanted to try some, and they said, ‘Sure. Isn’t it cute, a little girl getting stoned?’ Eventually that got boring, and my addict mind told me, ‘Well, if smoking pot is cute, it’ll also be cute to get the heavier stuff like cocaine.’ It was gradual. What I did kept getting worse and worse, and I didn’t care what anybody else thought,” Barrymore told People.
Of course, not all celebrities have experienced drug and alcohol dependence. Some celebs have even tried these substances only to find that their addictive properties do not appeal to them.
For example, in 2007 Megan Fox told Maxim magazine that she had done drugs in the past, and that is how she knows that they are not something she enjoys. In particular, she said that many people she knows are addicted to cocaine and prescription medications, but those are not things she has any interest in.
Examining substance abuse and the media It is important that media outlets share these celebrity stories with the public so that the serious issue of substance about can be brought out of the shadows and into the light. This will hopefully help people who are are struggling with addiction gain the courage to get help.
However, that does not mean that all media coverage of drug and alcohol use is beneficial to the public. According to an article from the American Academy of Pediatrics, alcohol advertising may have a major impact on children – an age demographic that should not be these advertisers targets. The article explained that research has shown that a sample of kids between the ages of 9 and 10 could recognize frogs that were used in an ad for beer almost as regularly as they could Bugs Bunny. This highlights the importance of monitoring what media children are exposed to so that they understand the dangers of substance abuse, rather than simply associating drugs and alcohol with having a good time.