Did Corey Haim Die of Natural Causes?

For the past few days I’ve been watching all the media attention paid to Corey Haim. Yes, another tragic Hollywood tale of a young person swept up and consumed by excess, too much too soon, blah, blah, blah. We have heard it all before and the media is giving us the same “drugs are bad, fame kills” melodrama we have heard time and time again.  It’s sad for sure. He seemed like a decent enough guy, based only on his presentation in the 80’s (let’s be honest, there were some very unfortunate hair choices, an indication? Foreshadowing of the tragedy to come?) And in a recent reality show, by his own admission, Haim admitted to battling addiction since adolescence – sooner or later, addicts die. There is nothing shocking here, it’s fairly common. NYC alone has roughly 800 deaths caused by overdose per year. Based on simple math, there were two other deaths in one city that were not newsworthy. Has overdose become so commonplace that we only care if the death is connected to celebrity and gossip? If Haim  sold copiers for example, would anyone care about his drug problem? Does anyone care now? Or is it just tabloid fodder?

One quote on a blog asked “How many of them have to die before they wake up?” Interesting perspective. Who would “they” be exactly? Child stars? Those never-do well Hollywood brats? The hair cutter who gave him that terrible mullet? I think my issue with the media coverage is in that statement. First off that  US (God-fearing law-abiding citizens) vs. THEM (filthy drug addicts) supports the position that we are at war against them. When the truth is the question is not THEY but WE. We are all impacted by addiction and the collateral damage of the drug war. Additionally, that idea of “waking up” is so insulting to anyone suffering from or in remission from addiction. Why don’t we just wake up? Crack is whack! Haven’t you heard?  It’s insulting, patronizing and as long as that is the prevailing attitude, we are stuck in this mess of a drug war.

As I have said many times, I don’t think we know very much about addiction. I don’t think we know how to intervene on it, treat it – I don’t think we know how long reaching and damaging its tentacles truly are. However there are a few things we do know for certain. It’s chronic and can be arrested but not cured. Cory Haim had periods of remission but ultimately; it killed him at a young age. If there is any waking up to do it, we need to wake up and rethink how we address this health crisis. Even his buddy, the other Corey with issues of his own and equally unfortunate hair, seems to be in denial, telling Larry King that we shouldn’t “jump to any conclusions.” Maybe they will say “natural causes”, in a way I agree with that. Addiction is a disease and diseases are natural.

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