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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

A sad reminder of a big problem

Posted Monday, July 25, 2011, at 12:10 PM

The tragic news rings loudly again -- another young music star has died by a overdose of drugs.

The latest victim, Amy Winehouse, was found Saturday in her London apartment.

She was 27.

Winehouse released only two albums -- one of which sold more than a million copies, won five Grammys and sparked a retro soul movement.

Her fans will now only be able to imagine the unrecorded singles, the never-to-be concerts and the comeback album that won't be coming.

Personally, I barely know who Amy Winehouse is or was and probably never listened to any of her music.

But the message her death sends is very familiar.

It's a sad script of our pop music culture, the history of which is cursed with greats and would-be greats who have been snuffed out early in life -- by drugs.

Winehouse met the same fate as rock greats like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison.

Are we really surprised? Hardly.

Too often the music culture of today and yesteryear has been laced with drug use and there's not much in the way of common sense that comes into play when you are talking cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and an endless supply of cash that the music stars are able to amass because we buy their albums, DVDs and download their music to our I-pods.

I saw on television this morning where hundreds of Winehouse fans were making a final pilgrimage to the front of her apartment leaving flowers, lighting candles, and etching farewell notes to the up-and-coming music star.

I have a real problem immortalizing or praising these fallen rock star types because of the wrong message we are sending to our younger generation.

Drug use is wrong and it does have consequences.

We should be holding these people, like Winehouse up, but not as a star or hero.

She should be yet another example of the demise that will follow a drug entrenched lifestyle sooner or later.

We should be telling our young folks that too often the use of drug -- especially in excess and as a way of life such as Winehouse freely exhibited, are a path to personal and final destruction.

That's not a moral augment, but a common sense one.

Our kids are learning about drugs as early as elementary school and the potential to experiment and become addicted is high.

They are being exposed to and using substances that they may not recognize or even understand, but still they are smoking them, snorting them and shooting them into their veins.

Our children and grandchildren can be easily influenced and are faced with making decisions themselves.

Having someone to guide them can help steer them in the right direction and teach them self value and esteem.

We need to explore every aspect of this dreaded menace and increase awareness in society so can we can begin to root out this serious problem.

This is not a New York City, London, Los Angeles, or big city problem.

Look at the daily jail log we publish in this newspaper. There are drug or drug-related arrests nearly every day.

Greene County Sheriff Terry Pierce will tell you about three-fourths of the 70 or so inmates he houses every day are in jail on drug or alcohol related charges in some way or fashion. If it's not a direct drug possession, dealing or use case, it is a burglary, theft or fraud crime committed to support a drug habit or lifestyle.

I'm not too naive to understand that hammering out some words on a keyboard about drug abuse is going to solve the problem. What I hope happens is parents will wake up and look for the signs of drug use in their kids.

I'm hoping that those using can look in the mirror and recognize that life is too short to be involved in such an endless circle of pain, disappointment and personal destruction and they'll seek the professional and spiritual help they'll need to get and stay clean.

We don't need any more deaths of individuals like Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin to write about.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at schneider.nick@gmail.com .

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Very good article, Nick, thank you. There is also an excellent article today at CNN.com which speaks of the "wonder" drug of cocaine. From that article:

"Long before drug cartels, crack wars and TV shows about addiction, cocaine was promoted as a wonder drug, sold as a cure-all and praised by some of the greatest minds in medical history, including Sigmund Freud and the pioneering surgeon William Halsted."

The other drugs you mention, heroin and methamphetamine were also hailed at one time as miracle drugs and their use promoted by members of the medical community.

Currently, we have a list of psychoactive drugs prescribed for depression, ADHD, anxiety and other things being prescribed willy-nilly by the medical profession. This, despite the fact that such drugs are known to be wide open for abuse. The list is endless.

The side effects of these drugs, and particularly withdrawal from them, can be quite horrendous. Studies have shown that they can increase suicidal thoughts and violent behavior, and they have black label warnings on their bottles.

Yet, we see ads on our TV every night promoting their use, and the prescription of these drugs is at all time high.

As a society, we need to take a serious look at this. Many of those people in the Greene County jail you speak of are using such prescription drugs. The ease with which they can be obtained is due to their high availabilty.

-- Posted by Lil' Hahn on Mon, Jul 25, 2011, at 1:54 PM

Amen. Parenting that is open and honest is the best anti-drug out there. That and a strong moral compass...

-- Posted by Ethermuse on Mon, Jul 25, 2011, at 1:50 PM

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