Monday, 1 August 2011


Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and now Amy Winehouse; these are the names of stars who have died at the age of 27 through substance abuse and drug overdoses.
Amy Winehouse was found dead in her flat on Saturday the 23rd of July 2011 at 4pm. Although autopsy details have not been released, it is suspected that her demise could be attributed to a drug overdose.
According to her friend Russell Brand, “When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call,” writes Brand, who battled substance abuse himself.
“There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new.”
“Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.”
Firstly, I have a different take on drug addiction; it’s not a disease. Drug addiction is a choice. From the very first hit of a joint to the conscious and deliberate decisions one makes when choosing to abuse any substance. We are human beings, not animals and as such we are given the power of choice and what we do with these choices when it comes to drugs means the difference of demise or recovery.
This is not an isolated incident and too often worried family members do receive that frightening call in the dead of night only to find out that their loved one is dead from an overdose or complications from drugs. Like Amy’s father, Mitch. Images of him distraught at his daughter’s funeral have circulated around the world and lays testimony to how drugs destroy lives. It’s heartbreaking, it’s not natural to lose a child, especially under those circumstances.
The reality is that Amy didn’t want to get better nor did she reach out and seek help. Ironically her well-known hit ‘Rehab’ lays testimony to this, “they tried to make me go to rehab and I said no, no. no”.
You can’t force someone into treatment; they have to want help. There is a small light at the end of the tunnel; her death has prompted greater awareness of the addicts’ plight. The tragic thing about some drug addicts in South Africa is that rehabilitation units are beyond their financial means, a sentence in itself. Whilst Amy could afford to check herself into recovery, many drug addicts who crave recovery and clarity are unable to. That’s why Mountain Heights is committed to raising awareness around drug addiction and is committed to helping as many addicts as we can who are committed to the recovery process.

You can only help someone that is genuine/serious about getting help. I (Marco) tried several times and often used going to rehab as an excuse to ‘get out of trouble’ and pretend I was getting clean. Winehouse did not want to change her life. This being said, I hope her family finds peace in this tragedy and eventually come to terms with the choices she made that lead to her untimely and tragic death.

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