Houston's death a lesson in drug danger


These days, children are learning at a young age that drugs are bad — they skew judgment, they’re addictive, and basically, they can ruin your life.

Many kids accept this at face value when they’re younger. After all, if an adult says it, it must be true, right? But then they get older and start exploring the boundaries of being a young adult... and they might start to doubt what they’ve heard about the danger of drugs.

It doesn’t help that they’re at high risk of being led astray by their peers.

“Come on,” their friends might say with a disdainful sneer. “Trying something once won’t kill you.”

Well, it might not. But deciding to try drugs is a bad decision, which can lead to more bad decisions. And Whitney Houston’s death earlier this month proved just how true that is — and just how badly those decisions can screw up a life.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about how celebrity news shouldn’t be highlighted by news stations. With this week’s column, I’m going to eat my words.

Again, I found the media circus surrounding Houston’s death to be inappropriate. Her death is a sad, sad thing, and her family deserves to be left in peace to grieve. But I think the event does need to be publicized, if only because what happened to her is a prime example of the dangers of drugs and alcohol use.

I was a kid during Houston’s heyday, and her music was a part of the background of my youth. I was more interested in My Little Ponies at the time, so I didn’t pay her any special attention as a pop music icon; she was just a voice on the radio. However, after her death, when many clips of music videos and performances were brought out, dusted off, and aired, I found myself marveling at the musical gift she had — and how she let it be ruined.

I’m sure by now many people have seen the clip of Houston singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Super Bowl. (I was 5 years old at the time, and my family has never been full of football fans, so I didn’t see it live.) What a voice! It soared through the stadium, lifting the audience with it.

With such talent to share with the world, how could Houston let drugs and alcohol take precedence over her music? Considering her talent and passion for singing, her decline is a testament to the power drugs can have over a person; and though she struggled with her addictions for years, eventually Houston lost her music in a drug-induced fog.

What a bright star, and how sad the fact that it was dimmed, and then snuffed, by bad decisions.

So, the bottom line: prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in our area, and the rise of synthetic drugs is a very disturbing trend. I’ve seen the TV commercials urging people to keep their pills locked up, and we’ve run a few stories about drug abuse here at the paper since I started working here last year. To me, they say one thing: “Drugs are dangerous.”

There is no “safe” age, nationality, financial class, or location. Everyone is at risk. The fact that drugs can destroy someone like Houston — who had it all: fame, fortune, beauty, talent, passion — ought to prove just how dangerous drugs are. And it ought to prove to kids that their parents, teachers and coaches aren’t blowing smoke.

Drugs are a really, really bad idea.



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Thank you for sharing this message!

The concern here is when kids get these pills in their hands. And they can do it with relative ease! I know nobody wants to admit that their child could be using drugs, but it's true. Kids are walking around with drugs like they are carrying bubble gum. They have no fear of neither the legal nor physical health consequences of drugs. Myteensavers counselors treats teen addicts. Many of them say that they faced very few deterrents when beginning their drug use. The say that their parents did not take an active role in pushing the anti-drug message.

They also say home drug testing could have prevented them or detected early drug use. Parents need to realize that they are fueling some of these drug habits with unattended prescriptions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Report this

Maybe off the subject, but I don't think so. You are mostly likely to get drug tested to get a chance at any decent job. How come you don't have to pee in the bottle etc. to collect food stamps or any other government handout or entitlement or whatever you choose to call them?

Friday, February 24, 2012 | Report this

Well maybe there might be a shot at compliance?


Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Report this

Jessie, good opinion piece, great message!!! Now folks, this is how an opinion piece s/b written.

I also second dmanwarinig's opinion that if you are collecting any govt assistance that you s/b drug tested and drug free to continue to collect that assistance.

That must also include public officials voted into higher office. After all the military drug tests their own too. I should know as I was drug tested many times during my four years in the service.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | Report this

I definitely agree about this piece being well - written, and I second the drug testing proposals.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | Report this

luvstandish65: It's obvious that you like "everything" that Ms. Jessie writes. Ok with you, mom/dad/sis/brotha/uncle/aunt?

Friday, March 2, 2012 | Report this

What's wrong with pumping someone's tires when they author a good piece of work?

Would it be wrong to comment if they were related to the author, in your opinion?

I enjoy a lot of Jessie's articles, and have commented on quite a few. Does that mean i'm related to her, too?

Friday, March 2, 2012 | Report this

wildcatgoal: I happen to enjoy honest opinion from the readers, not favored snippets from the family/friends. Jessie is a fine writer and doesn't need help to gin up her standings with her peers. To wit, Nepotism/cronyism is rampant in Oscoda County and I hate to see the Herald lower its journalistic standards and allow that to continue.

Consider: not everything Jessie writes is Pulitzer prize material. I do coincide that this piece is probably her best material to date.

Recently Jeff P. wrote an excellent opinion piece regarding faith and the recent HHS ruling. Very BOLD of him to take a stand on that issue!!! Sorry, Jessie is not there yet.

Next item: has anyone noticed that everyone working for the Herald is under 45? Another source of contention (for me) that is going on nation wide is age discrimination in the work place.

Saturday, March 10, 2012 | Report this

Belle: You are incorrect in your assumption that everyone who works for the Herald is younger than 45. We have many staff members who are older than 45, though I'm sure many would appreciate me not naming them here. :-)

Sure, much of our editorial staff is very young, but it is not age discrimination as you call it. It's simply a matter of those are the people that have applied for posted positions when they open up. I think our young staff does an excellent job, but I have no qualms with having more senior people on our staff as well. But if they don't apply, we can't hire them.

You have a lot of questions about our paper, and I'd be happy to answer any others you may have. As I've said before, feel free to email me at editor@ogemawherald.com and I'd be glad to answer them for you.

Thank you for your time

Eric Young

Managing Editor

Saturday, March 10, 2012 | Report this

Eric: Thank you for taking the time to correct the age issue. The assumption on my part is due to the faces seen in your newspaper and the online edition.

In other words, my perception is 90% reality (what I see online/print). This is also based upon having applied for jobs that I am qualified for yet not hired due to being older (my perception). Ironically I got jobs for which I was less qualified for, yet I was much younger then.

Reality doesn't bite, rather our perception of reality bites. Anthony J D'Angel

Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Report this

BRR, Apply at the Herald!! I enjoy your views and insight!! And...................................if they do by chance hire you don't post your picture( my perception is 90% reality, what I see online/print)...................................and keep us in suspense!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Report this

ceenile57, thanks for the kudos!!!

What the....hey??? Your not related to me, are you???

Monday, March 12, 2012 | Report this


Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | Report this

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