The lesson amid the sadness

Whitney Houston's loss is a sobering reminder of the dangers of substance abuse

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If substance abuse didn’t kill Whitney Houston, it was undoubtedly a co-conspirator.

The icon who possessed perhaps the most powerful female voice in modern music history, along with eyes and a smile that could light up a Hollywood set, was famous for her addiction battle. There is little doubt that, at the end of the day, she drowned of a substance other than water.

If the silencing of this song bird didn’t bring you to tears, go back and watch her soaring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at the 1991 Super Bowl, available on YouTube.com. That moment, and her voice, will live forever.

Her passing is a tragedy that exceeds even Houston’s fame and talent, for it’s a red flag for the entire entertainment world and all those who follow it with zeal: The notion that substance abuse is no more than a lifestyle choice that makes for great fun at parties has simply got to be buried with this beautiful singer.

Her death at 48, as untimely as it is for her and her family and fans, comes at an opportune moment to remind the nation of the dangers of substance abuse. Medical marijuana supporters have succeeded in stripping away much of the drug’s stigma in several states – and the libertarian-leaning presidential candidate Ron Paul would, if he could, end federal proscriptions against drugs that are currently illegal.

While we agree with Paul on many aspects of the federal government’s abuse of power, we diverge with him on illicit drugs. He sees drug
use as a personal habit; in fact, they are a societal ill affecting us all. It’s also naïve to think that
criminalization of drugs is the problem: Much of the damage done by drugs – on the roads, in adult relationships, in the care and treatment of children – has zero to do with their being illegal, and everything to do with what they do to people’s heads.

Meanwhile, the rampant abuse of legal prescription drugs is a winked-at epidemic eroding lives and families and even making our streets less safe. It also has a federal fiscal component: Such things as federal assistance fraud are greatly exacerbated by the lure of drugs such as Oxycontin, which Food Stamp recipients can obtain by selling the fruits of public aid. It has become a huge problem on the streets.

Regardless of the politics, one would hope the outpouring of love and lament for Whitney Houston at the Grammy awards Sunday night would translate into an apolitical, extra-judicial, ground-up war on drugs by the entertainment industry itself. Please, no more public platitudes and off-camera snickers as the world’s most talented and promising performers destroy themselves as their peers and sycophants cheer it on – and as pliable young fans look on.

Losing Whitney Houston is a deep tragedy that will only be made deeper if we fail to learn from it.

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Jon Lester
2302
Points
Jon Lester 02/14/12 - 05:59 am
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0
Well, there go your

Well, there go your libertarian credentials. Your boy Rush shows all the signs of continuing pill abuse on the DittoCam every day; where's your call for intervention there?

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 02/14/12 - 08:26 am
0
0
Sorry, but the abuse of

Sorry, but the abuse of prescription drugs is not primarily found in the streets. It is found in every home in America just about. I am telling you now, that you can not ignore this situation. Once you start taking drugs for whatever your "condition" , you will become addicted. And weaning yourself off them will be the most difficult thing you will ever do. It is why your insurance premium is so high. As a society we are addicted to pill solutions and yet we do not see that it is just as wrong as street addictions. We put "them" in jail simply because they got their drugs without a piece of paper. I don't care if it is Lipitor, Viagra, or Oxycontin. You will get addicted eventually. And if you could just imagine what would happen to you if all of a sudden you could not just go to the store and buy your drugs, then you would hear what I am saying. You would bring Zombieland to your neighborhood.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 02/14/12 - 08:46 am
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"Once you start taking drugs

"Once you start taking drugs for whatever your "condition" , you will become addicted."??????????????

Riverman1
84054
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Riverman1 02/14/12 - 08:53 am
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Whitney Houston said "crack

Whitney Houston said "crack is whack." She said it's a cheap drug. So we now know she was using prescription drugs that can be legally obtained. Soccer moms driving around in Columbia County buzzed.

Preventing illegal street drugs takes most of our law enforcement money and those people are the ones thrown in jail. In the meantime the real drug users are right next to you.

If you went after the prescription drug users as you do the crack or whatever users, crime would soar in their communities as they found ways to get their drugs and crime rings began. See what I mean?

dougk
3
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dougk 02/14/12 - 09:45 am
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Riverman is right.
Unpublished

Riverman is right.

TParty
6003
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TParty 02/14/12 - 11:25 am
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Health experts in Portugal

Health experts in Portugal said their decision 10 years ago to decriminalize drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked. That there is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal.

Here at home I can consume dish washing soap, which doesn't do anything- however I can. I can also do other dumb things, such as buy items from a store like paint, gasoline, or canned air- and huff away legally. There are other dumb things I can do to myself, legally. Smoking cigarettes is another. Why cigarettes and not other items will always baffle me.

Just food for thought.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 02/14/12 - 12:51 pm
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She should have stuck to

She should have stuck to coffee, pot, and wine.

allhans
23651
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allhans 02/14/12 - 02:03 pm
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We don't know if prescription

We don't know if prescription drugs was the reason for the death of Houston. Simply finding prescription drugs in her home doesn't mean that that is all she had used/taken.
Plenty of time to do away with junk before emergency workers arrived.

I am not defending the abuse of legal drugs, I personally know folks that you would never think of who are abusing Oxycontin, trading, buying, using more than one doctor. It is a very addictive drug, or so I hear from those who suffer from the addiction but refuse to have treatment.

Bizkit
31472
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Bizkit 02/14/12 - 02:40 pm
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But for the grace of God go

But for the grace of God go I. Anesthesiologist have one of the highest occupational insurances because so many get addicted or die from abuse. The temptation to try this must be great. But addiction is biological and not everyone who smokes cigarettes gets addicted so they can pick it up and put it down at will. Others have addictive personalities-Of my sibling two don't and two do-I have one (tobacco, alcohol, etc) but I beat them all I just now have to be wary. It isn't the drug its the person-look at Michael Jackson-you heard the recordings do you really think he needed to get that wasted. Even the most potent drugs don't have much effect with some pain management-so addiction is the least of their worries. Our societal problem is the belief that everything can be treated with a pill.

Bruno
780
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Bruno 02/14/12 - 03:01 pm
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Actually the insurance for

Actually the insurance for anesthesiologists is so high due to the higher medico legal risk. Not due to any addiction or death from abuse. That being said, was anyone really surprised at Houston's death?

Bizkit
31472
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Bizkit 02/14/12 - 04:20 pm
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Insurance companies say the

Insurance companies say the reason anesthesiologist have such high rates is because patients don't pick their anesthetist. Between 1991 and 2001, 80% of US anesthesiology residency programs reported experience with impaired residents, and 19% reported at least one pretreatment fatality. A number of publications discuss the epidemic of drug abuse by this type physician-mainly opioid abuse. They get sued a lot too but abuse is also a factor.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 02/17/12 - 09:47 pm
0
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Having met a few

Having met a few anesthesiologist, Bizkit, except in an emergency, I do pick my own and have for years.

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