In the wake of pop diva Whitney Houston’s death, the White House drug czar referred to the tragedy as a “teachable moment,” bringing the issue of drug abuse to the forefront of public discussion.
News of celebrities checking in to rehab comes as no surprise to many — so many stars find themselves checking into rehab time and time again.
Amid the media mourning music diva Houston’s death, MSNBC’s Jeff Rossen reports on the nature of celebrity addictions and rehab, and why so many struggle to kick the habit for good.
Rossen visited Promises, a frequent check-in for celebrities located in Malibu, Calif. Getting full access to the facility, Rossen describes Promises as a 5-star resort, including a spa, massage room and princess suite.
It’s easy to question whether legitimate rehab occurs at a facility that caters more to 5-star comfort that a cure for addiction, but Promises CEO Dr. David Sacks insists that the comfort helps with the process.
“We created an environment that was going to be recognizable to people as comfortable, welcoming, that was going to reduce their anxiety so that they’d want to stay for treatment,” Sack told Rossen. “When you serve them gourmet food, you’re really saying that you’re not a worthless human being just because you have a drug problem.”
Despite the luxurious accommodations, addicts often find one stay not enough. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between 40 to 60 percent of all rehab patients relapse after their first treatment.
Reports of Robert Downey, Jr., or Nicole Richie, returning to rehab are not only expected, but generally met with welcome arms from the public and gossip magazines. According to addictions experts, this is part of the problem — rehab is glamorized. “Mess up, and you make the cover,”as Rossen writes.
Drugs and addiction play a large role in the music industry, in particular. Entertainment attorney James Walker tells the Washington Post, “Drugs are everywhere at the Grammy ceremonies whether in hotels or private rooms.” The Post adds, “Drugs are the status quo.”
The culture of Hollywood and celebrities is one that only perpetuates the cycle of drugs. “Many of those who manage the stars are more enablers than managers,” writes the Washington Post. People are constantly trying to keep up with one another and outdo each other.
Chris Gardner, a celebrity journalist who worked his way into the inner circle of several troubled A-list stars, shared his story of becoming their enabler with Rossen.
“Everyone in this town wants to be friends with a celebrity — it’s an exciting life, you get access to places you’d never normally go, you get a certain level of service,” Gardner shared. “And the trade off is that sometimes you’re the one supplying them with the drugs.”
Gardner said that if he would say no, they would say “see you later.”
“If you don’t agree with what that celebrity wants, you’ll be gone, and there are dozens if not hundreds of people to take your place.”
While the problem of celebrity drug usage may seem on the rise, as Gardner described, “Anytime you have superstars die seemingly one right after the other, it seems that this is becoming an epidemic” — hinting that it probably is the same as it ever was.
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