The Grand Illusion of Fame and Drug Addiction

Woman Slumped On Sofa With Drug Paraphernalia In Foreground

(DGIwire) — Some people say that much of the best art, music and literature has been created by artists while they were “under the influence” of drugs. These critics might cite The Velvet Underground’s song “Heroin,” The Beatles’ classic  “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or the works of punk artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Drug use, especially opiate use, can seem to impart a glamor to artists—and by extension, to anyone in artistic circles.

What could be the real harm, the reasoning goes, if famous rockers like Lou Reed, Keith Richards and a long list of others could spend their nights—and their days—producing some of the best, most exciting music anyone has ever heard while addled on whatever they could fit up their nose or through their veins? And what about Richard Pryor? He was a crack addict and still one of the funniest people of any generation. Before we write someone off as just another artist getting into the music or finding his or her muse through chemical enhancement, consider this: they might need more help than they think.

Side effects of powerful drugs caused the early deaths of Jimi Hendrix, John Belushi and many other luminaries.

Many of us know someone—a friend or relative—who has fallen victim to the drug lifestyle glamorized by some of the artists mentioned above. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that each day, 46 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers. That doesn’t even take into account street drugs. It’s always hard to reason with a substance abuser, but it can be doubly so when they hold up their artistic idols as evidence that drugs are helping them in some way. Leaving all that perceived “hipness” aside, breaking an addiction—especially to opiates—can be difficult.

“Many families are being torn apart by addiction,” says Dr. Mark A. Sirgo, president and CEO of BioDelivery Sciences (BDSI), based in Raleigh, NC. And, this is why BDSI is working to address chronic pain and help stem the rising tide of dependence on opioids that has become an epidemic in America. “We are developing treatments that we hope will assist people and their families in managing their addiction to opioids, along with counseling and psychosocial support.”

Can you imagine what might have been created by the talents who died too young from drugs — like Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, DeeDee Ramone, Elvis Presley, Chris Farley, Judy Garland, Lenny Bruce, Jim Morrison, Billie Holiday, River Phoenix, Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman…and all the others, celebrities or not — if they could have broken their addictions?