Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. I suspect that if you were to tally up the deaths related to drugs in other ways, violence, suicide, and accidents, the numbers would be shocking. Because of the inherently secretive nature of recreational drug use in the U.S. and the persistent anti-drug messaging and politically correct avoidance of the topic, it is really difficult to grasp the enormity of just how many people are doing drugs, and how many of them struggle with it. Not that doing drugs is a necessarily bad thing, I think that the dominant culture does not allow for enjoyment, recreation, or excitement in the daily lives of most people and turning to a drink or some other kind of "helper" is a reasonable, if not necessarily healthy response. I also think that far more people than we would like to admit are struggling with the repercussions of their drug use. I grew up in the Nancy Reagan "Just Say No to Drugs" era, though from what I can tell, hardly anybody paid any attention. What it did do though, was stigmatize drug use to the point of preventing people from asking for help, or offering it, earlier. We have a tendency of waiting until someones life has spiraled out of control before intervening, which is part of the tough love and rock bottom philosophy of drug treatment, but is likely more rooted in our sense of not invading another persons life. Perhaps we need to change the paradigm. Instead of a war on drugs, a black and white, either-or, right and wrong way of looking at drug use, which pushes it farther out of sight, we could usher in an era of moderation and a way of living that requires less escape. Perhaps a little more time off, a little extra income, and some healthy activities would lessen our reliance on drugs for relaxation and fun. Because really, wouldn't it be nice to just not need it?
To look at a long list of celebrities with drug problems:
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