Experience

Losing creatives to addiction

Alex Camili, @A_Carnation

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The music industry is a prosperous business that features the most prominent artists and up-and-coming talent distributing songs for the fans to enjoy. However, just like any other occupation there are stressors involved that can lead to detrimental coping methods. The most well-known coping method being drug abuse either prescribed or bought off the streets.

Recording Artist and Rapper, Mac Miller, tragically passed away on September 7, 2018 due to an accidental drug overdose in his San Fernando Valley home. Miller in the past has mentioned his reliance on substances and his introspection in a short documentary with Fader Magazine called “Stop Making Excuses.”

“Overdosing is just not cool, you don’t go down in history because you overdosed you just die,” said Miller.

For the hip-hop community, Miller continues to be influential, deeply mourned by contemporaries such as Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Snoop Dogg and fellow Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa.

Outside of hip-hop, multi-instrumentalist Prince Rogers Nelson suffered a similar fate on April 21, 2016 when he overdosed on fentanyl at his Paisley Park home, which was prescribed to him to manage his chronic hip pain.

Nelson was a relatively private person but leading up to his death his closest affiliates became increasingly worried when he overdosed on opioids mid-flight on a chartered jet. The jet was forced to make an abrupt stop in Moline, Illinois before Nelson had to be rushed to the nearest hospital for minor drug testing — only to later be released the same day.

The tragic passing of English singer Amy Winehouse was due her perennial thrill-seeking demeanor which lead to her eventual alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011. Winehouse’s career had reached a point where she wouldn’t perform without smoking crack cocaine and suffering episodic fits due to heroin use.

Blake Fielder-Civil who is Winehouse’s ex-husband has expressed regret for enabling Winehouse access to harder substances.

Fielder-Civil revealed in an interview with The Guardian, “We used heroin together as addicts for like four months.”

Fielder-Civil observed her dependence leading to her death began tarnishing her career to the point she would smoke out of her crack pipe after every song she performed live as the years progressed. Winehouse’s album “Frank” also details her alcoholism especially on the track “Love is Blind.”

Winehouse’s first manager Nick Shymansky recalled attempting to convince her to get into rehab once her health began to severely take a nosedive. Instead she released a song called “Rehab” which had her fans singing along to the tune oblivious to the poor condition Winehouse was in.

After her passing the legacy she left behind was full of ridicule by the media and comedians who viewed her as a junkie, as opposed to a successful artist who had her bouts with depression. Mental health issues continue to be prevalent to this day due to the party-oriented lifestyles and growing pressures of losing all success achieved.

Whitney Houston had a difficult childhood experiencing her parents repeated infidelities before leading to an inevitable divorce. Houston’s brother Michael introduced her to drugs such as marijuana and cocaine on her sixteenth birthday, due to drug culture becoming commonplace in East Orange, New Jersey.

Clinical Director Janelle Westfall at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Arizona analyzed the passing of Whitney Houston in February 11, 2012 and attributed her heavy drug use to her rough childhood.

Westfall added, “A child who endures traumatic events like those experienced by Houston is at a much higher risk for developing substance abuse and health issues later in life.”

With the recent loss of so many creatives to drug abuse, it is important to recognize mental health issues and the disease of drug abuse before we another legacy is cut short.

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Losing creatives to addiction