Excerpt: As the old rock song, Deja Vu, goes, “We have all been here before.”
Once again the headlines are full of the unbearable news of another superstar’s drug overdose. Once again, experts on addiction are rushing to use a celebrity death to draw down on the failures of the culture, law enforcement and the medical system to prevent another talented artist from ending up in an early grave due to substance addiction.
So, once again we are asking: Why, after all the alarms sounding for decades, does this keep happening? Why is there a straight line from, say, Elvis Presley in 1977 to Michael Jackson in 2009 to Whitney Houston in 2012 to Prince Rogers Nelson in 2016?
Shame, stigma, denial, fear, profit, pain — all and more are being blamed for this mournful intersection of fame, money, addiction and death….
Shame is a powerful incentive to deny anything is wrong, says addiction specialist Clare Waismann of the Waismann Method Treatment Center in Beverly Hills, specializing in treating opiate dependence.
“I believe one of the main causes of all these overdoses is the word ‘addiction’ carries negative connotations and associations … as if addiction was a living, breathing entity caused by a lack of morals, lack of strength or a flawed character,” Waismann says. “This stigma that society has created keeps the ones that need help alone, hopeless and ashamed.”