The world was saddened by the news of Amy Winehouse's death yesterday. Although reports have not been confirmed, it is almost certain that illicit drug use had something, if not everything to do with the loss of the 27 year-old superstar. After all, we watched for the last several years as addiction ravished her mind, body and career.
Per the title of this blog, while Amy Winehouse is likely the most famous of the recent drug-related deaths we have heard of, she is unfortunately not alone. Did you know that 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is somehow related to the use of alcohol, tobacco or illicit drugs? Yes, 1 in 4. The bulk of those deaths (approximately 430,700 per year) are associated with complications from smoking. At least 100,000 are associated with alcohol consumption. And 16, 000 deaths per year are attributed to illicit drug use. As you can imagine, these numbers are probably an underestimate as much illicit drug use goes undetected and many drug overdoses are attributed to other causes of death.
Amy Winehouse adds to a long line of lives that have been robbed by addiction including Heath Ledger, DJ A.M., Anna Nicole Smith and countless others of our own friends and family.
Hopefully we can take this opportunity to learn more about addiction and how deadly it truly is. The longer we go on turning a blind eye, the more people will die. Recovery can save lives, but we, as a nation, have to believe in it.