In the original ad campaign for the Fox TV series “Glee” the cast posed making an “L” sign with their fingers –- the universal sign for “Loser”.
Last week, the star of that series, Cory Monteith, became the ultimate loser, cutting short a promising career and departing this life as the latest celebrity victim of a Heroin overdose.
In eulogizing Cory, a lot has been written about his struggles with addiction, visits to rehab and the problems that come from being young and rich and famous.
Others have repeated the words of Comedian Bill Hicks, who codified the victim mentality and bleeding heart sympathies around drug deaths into the phrase “We’re missing a moron”.
We all know that hard drugs mask rather than solve a problem, providing a temporary relief from the user’s pain that ultimately makes the problem much, much harder to solve.
For whatever reasons, Cory Monteith either didn’t have the tools or just wasn’t smart enough to deal with his real issues and, as in all such cases, the Darwin theory eventually reproves itself.
Yet while the fans weep and the floral memorial outside the hotel where he died in Vancouver grows, not a lot of people want to talk about why he died the way he did.
There’s palpable outrage over a column in a Calgary newspaper blaming his death on Vancouver’s safe injection sites. Not because that’s where Cory took his final shot, but because it’s a well known place for out-of-towner’s to connect with dealers just by talking to their current customers.
Like John Belushi and so many other celebrity addicts in bands found dead in hotel rooms, Monteith may have made the simple mistake of not considering that the drugs he was purchasing on the road weren’t the same as the ones he was used to back home.
Maybe Vancouver’s safe injection sites are a humane solution for some of the problems addicts face. But like drug use itself, they mask rather than deal with the real issue.
One of the hits of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival was Sean Dunne’s harrowing documentary “Oxyana” (now available online at Vimeo). It chronicles the devastation of a small West Virginia town caused by rampant Oxycontin abuse.
You’ll find a taste of it below, along with another from a NY Times documentary by Brent McDonald on Heroin use in Portland, Maine. Usage that spiked once Oxycontin became harder to obtain.
We can either continue to write kind words and lay bouquets on the sidewalk the next time a budding talent dies, or we can finally take a hard look at what is killing them and deal with it once and for all.
Enjoy Your Sunday.