Although the Daily Mail is the UK’s version of the New York Post, and as such, grounds its reporting filter in purely abject fear-mongering , this article about a youth overdose death in England is still worth noting. But man oh man, does it highlight the absurdity of a prohibitionist view.
The unfortunate death of eighteen-year-old Christopher Preece, who overdosed from injecting heroin, has lead his family to blame drug-taking celebrities as the cause for their son’s death. The family goes on to cite Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss, and George Michael as some of the celebrities that have gotten slaps on the wrist for their dangerous behavior, and thus setting a bad example for youth.
While I see the need to disperse blame, as a coping mechanism, for this unfortunate death, it is clear that celebrities should not be the recipients. Let’s take, for example, the fact Reece injected heroin at night: his friends found him unconscious on the bathroom floor the following morning, but then DIDN’T CALL AN AMBULANCE UNTIL 6:30 THAT EVENING!!
Do you see where this is going?
Further, a study from Addaction, a UK charity attempting to stem drug and alcohol abuse, cites that only 1 in 10 youth (page 2) think that celebrities taking drugs is cool, even though 63% of parents fear the impact of drug-taking celebrities on their children. Clearly, there is a disconnect between youth and parental perceptions about celebrities, as well as drug-taking behavior in general.
Although the mom can’t say what went through her son’s friends’ minds that prevented them from calling for medical help — they could have believed they would have gotten in huge legal trouble — what is clear is that they shouldn’t have even thought that were going to get in trouble. However, even the UK’s drug policies would lead people to believe they would.
Clearly, this episode highlights the need for a Good Samaritan policy, much like the one New Mexico passed last year. This legislation prevents prosecutions for drug possession of people needing or calling medical assistance in the event of a drug overdose. A policy like this could have saved Preece’s life, not a celebrity’s good behavior.
Just for fun, I’ve decided to post a picture of celebrities allegedly under the influence of some kind of narcotic. Although I hate to use this tactic, as I don’t agree with the fear-mongering “meth makes you ugly campaign” but instead a four-pillars approach, it does illustrate that youth aren’t idiots, and celebrities don’t make drug abuse look sexy.*
Tell me, does this want to make you abuse drugs?