July 24, 2011 – London, England - The toxicology reports aren’t back yet, but do we really need to wait. Isn’t it obvious to everyone that Amy Winehouse died of a drug overdose. Another family now has to live with the loss of a loved one. Age 27, barely begun her career as a talented singer. This disease, and yes, be clear, it is a disease, will now gain more attention. The media will be asking, why didn’t rehab work? Why didn’t she accept the help? Why didn’t she just stop?
Like diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses, addiction requires multiple interventions, multiple treatments. The difference with addiction is the stigma. The average American still views addiction as a behavioral or moral problem. This attitude is perpetuated by the media’s focus on the tragedies rather than the success stories. The fact is that treatment does work. Treatment saves lives. Addicts are not “bad” people, getting good, but rather “sick” people trying to get well.
My hope is that the death of Amy Winehouse will help at least one other person. Somewhere, in some country, there is another young person struggling with addiction. Just maybe, he or she will reach out for help.