At work the other day I found myself in a conversation about drug overdoses and, as usual, I disturbed more than a few people around the water cooler with the frightening amount of useless information stored in my head about addiction and overdose. This got me thinking about why I am so aware of overdose deaths. Of course overdose is something that has touched my life, but so have myelodysplastic syndrome, cancer and dementia. I don’t have nearly the same interest or knowledge about how those illness have impacted others. With addiction and overdose I think it comes back to the stigma. We know that many people die from cancer, it is validated by society, it is talked about, it is normalize and accepted. Addiction, on the other hand, not so much. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans identify as currently or at some point being addicted to drugs or alcohol. That is 23.5 million people. 23.5 million people!! That is nearly as many people as live in the state of Texas, and yet we still hate talking about the terrifying realities of addiction.
On Fridays we usually do a list of our favorite grief articles from around the web, but as you have probably guessed, no Friday Favs today. Sorry kids, we just weren’t feeling it. Today, in the spirit of raising awareness about overdose, we are remembering a handful of celebrities who lost the battle to overdose. For every name on this list, there are thousands of normal, everyday people– beautiful, talented, amazing people –taken by addiction. Let’s stop pretending it doesn’t happen.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Ashleigh Aston Moore
Anna Nicole Smith
Bam Bam Bigelow (wrestler)
Lisa Robin Kelly
Dee Dee Ramone (of The Ramones)
Sid Vicious (of The Sex Pistols)
Peter Farndone (of The Pretenders)
Jay Bennett (of Wilco)
Hillel Slovak (of The Red Hot Chili Peppers)”
John Entwistle (The Who)
Tommy Bolin (of Deep Purple)
John Bonham (of Led Zepplin)
Shannon Hoon (of Blind Melon)
Brian Jones (of The Rolling Stones)
Chris Kelly (of Kris Kross)
Brent Mydland (of The Grateful Dead)
Bradley Nowell (Sublime)
Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Gram Parsons (of The Byrds)
Booby Sheehan (of Blues Traveler)
Layne Staley (of Alice in Chains)
Wow, okay, I was planning to include writers, but just actors and musicians was painful enough. I’m sorry if you came for Friday Favorites hoping for some witty lists or uplifting videos. It just hasn’t been that kind of week; I just couldn’t do happy. Luckily I do have one piece of happy news to share before you go: the Kid President is making a TV show! And not just any TV show, but one that’s going to be filled with ‘awesome stuff’.
That should have made you feel a little better. Now subscribe to get our posts right to your inbox!