OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Foul Play is not suspected

Posted by Brenda Higgins on February 20, 2012

I kept hearing this as a quote from police on the days immediately following Whitney Houston’s death. I kept thinking, “That depends on how you define foul play”. Outside of the literal law enforcement view of “foul play”, on a more philosophical level, I felt there was a great deal of foul play at work in these circumstances.

In 2008, more than 12 million Americans were abusing their prescription pain meds. 1 In 2010, 2 million Americans reported using prescription pain medications nonmedically for the first time. About one-half of prescription painkiller deaths involve at least one other drug, including benzodiazepines, and alcohol. Benzodiazepine related deaths from 2004 to 2008 rose 24%. Benzodiazepines include but are not limited to Xanax, Valium, Lunesta.2 Not included in either of these classes (Pain killers or benzodiazepines) but also showing increasing levels of abuse, Soma, ( a muscle relaxer), and Ambien (short term sleeping aid). Of course, when any of these are combined with alcohol, the possibility of personal injury or death is high.

Someone prescribed for Whitney Houston the plethora of drugs (benzodiazepines) that were found in her room. Someone left her alone and allowed her to get into the bath. No one stood up to her and told her that was a bad idea. The public gawked at the wreckage of her life and laughed out loud or Googled “crack is whack”. Isn’t any of this “foul play”? Where if anywhere does responsibility lie?

In the recent barrage of brief interviews, “tragic”, “a tragic LOSS” is repeated over and over. I keep wondering which loss they mean. The immediate and recent loss of Whitney Houston’s physical life on this earth? The loss of her magnificent voice? The loss of her dignity? Her recent death is not in any way as tragic as her existence in her last years. Tormented by her substance abuse and addiction, ridiculed by a once adoring public, and without the padding of the cash cow that was her career was in the 80’s and 90’s, we watched her unravel and go up in flames.

There have been reports that the day prior to her death, Whitney Houston was doing handstands in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton, that she was drinking heavily and acting strange the night before and was exhibiting similar bizarre behavior around the pool that day. She was escorted out of the pool area by her 18 year old daughter. When mom is a drunk who acts like a child, the child becomes the parent. The cycle of abuse and enabling automatically trains up a new generation.

An estimated 15 million Americans are alcohol or drug dependent. For every person abusing alcohol or drugs, there are at least four others, Spouses, children and coworkers who are severely impacted. About 28 million Americans are the adult children of alcoholics still suffering from events of their childhoods. 3

In the situation where the addict is wealthy or famous, the enablers are not just the family and friends, but the paid staff. These paid handlers are easily replaced if they thwart the addict. The absolute bottom that could lead to an end of the denial and a turn around is harder to reach with a limitless supply of enablers. It is difficult but not impossible. Robert Downey, Jr. now claims 7 years of sobriety and the difference in his life is clear and unmistakable. It can be done. Whitney just didn’t do it.

In 2010, enough prescription pain medications were prescribed to medicate every American adult around the clock for one month. 1 We have to address our collective denial and see the epidemic. This is not a problem of wealthy or famous people. It is more visible, and more dysfunctional with the glare of the spotlight, but not in any way unique to them.

The fallout of prescription drug abuse is often, and easily hidden or overlooked. Missed days and low performance at work, one car accidents, falling asleep (at a red light or waiting for children to come out of school), arrests from domestic violence, petty theft, breaking and entering, are all issues that arise for prescription drug abuser, but these do not necessarily trigger a mandated drug screen or appropriate intervention. Marriages disintegrate while the sober parent fights to keep children in a safe environment, the drug abuser proclaims that they do not have a problem as they are taking what was prescribed and only drinking occasionally. The costs and consequences are breathtakingly broad.

Instinctively, we recall all the lovely things from a person’s life when they die. That, like other forms of self medication, alleviates the pain temporarily. The real cure for addiction is to amputate denial. Whitney Houston’s death was an ugly event. It was the natural and predictable culmination of years of her demise through addiction. To call it anything else is to perpetuate the denial that enabled an addict to take her life down this fateful path. The most telling quote of all, during her now infamous 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, “The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy.”. In the face of this expanding epidemic, we are faced with the choice of perpetuating the denial, or facing the inconvenient truth. Step one is admitting there is a problem.

4 Responses to “Foul Play is not suspected”

  1. gene said

    Excellent comments! 5,325 hits! Good to hear from you.

    As you state, step one is admitting there is a problem. Step two is having friends who really care about the one who has the problem–friends who gain nothing from helping the one in need, but who are there when needed because of genuine love.

  2. Mitchina said

    Our society has broken down terribly over the past 50 years. Morals, responsibility, charity, compassion, empathy have all turned into “get what I can while I can as long as it feels good” self indulgent narcissistic existence for most. We need to get back to our faith, our family and our community as individual and stop thinking, letting and voting for gvt to take care of us all.

  3. Mitchina said

    oh, “waves” HI Brenda!

  4. Reblogged this on the127 activist.

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