This month brought about the tragic death of Canadian actor Cory Monteith. The Glee favourite was found dead in his hotel room on the 13th of July after over dosing on a cocktail of heroin and alcohol. After the initial shock of losing someone so young, who was loved by millions of people across the world, came the tirade of celebrities, talk show hosts and even some high profiled ex drug users to claim that hopefully this will give people the “warning they need” to stop using drugs.
It seems however, that in the 21st century, these words are just coming off as white noise, after numerous famous faces over the years have suffered from the same fate as Cory. It’s saddening that these stories and tragedies seem to act as a cautionary tale for all of about a week, until the media hype fades away.
Celebrities such as American pop star Demi Lovato and former rock God Ozzy Osbourne, both of whom have had stints in and out of rehab, offered their insights into the world of drug use, after Cory’s shock passing. Demi said: “All it takes is one moment of vulnerability to get slipped into your addiction. It’s not a choice. Nobody chooses to use. He didn’t choose to die. It was the disease. It’s really scary, but I’m really hoping that from this, people are able to see this is a very, very, very dangerous disease.” Ozzy spoke out about his sadness over Cory’s death, and claims he is living on borrowed time, saying: “I went through all that and I survived. But I haven’t got that many friends who I used to do it with. They’re all dead.”
Celebrities have been making headlines for decades after succumbing to the same fate as Cory Monteith, from River Phoenix and Marilyn Monroe, to Heath Ledger and Brittany Murphy. As Heath and Brittany’s deaths were during my life time, I can say with certainty that they were met with the same mantra of ‘this will serve as a warning to anyone taking drugs or thinking of taking them’.
Why is it then, that in the five years since Heath’s death, or the 51 years since Marilyn’s, these warnings have done nothing in curbing people off the dangerous lifestyle that has taken so many lives? Is it because quitting drugs is too hard, or do people just not care anymore about these glorified celebrity deaths and the warnings that come with them? If celebrities aren’t taking their own kind’s advice, then why should we?
Substance abuse and OD’ing isn’t something that can be stopped over night, but it would be nice to think that something good has come from the avalanche of cautions that the celebrity world and the media have given us. Saving just one person’s life is better than none, and with a throng of impressionable “gleeks” and other Cory fans out there, we can only hope they take this warning and run with it.