Archive for Michael Jackson

Is Dr. Conrad Murray The Only Killer in Michael Jackson’s Death?

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on February 10, 2010 by corecompany

What’s wrong with convicting Dr. Conrad Murray of manslaughter in the Michael Jackson case? Nothing, clearly he was not practicing ethical medicine and his patient died. The drugs that were administered to Michael Jackson ultimately killed him but in a larger sense, did Dr. Murray kill him? Is he the only party culpable in Michael Jackson’s death? While Dr. Murray may have been the straw to break the camels back it brings up an interesting question when an addict overdoses. Where do we assign blame?

To read the comments of the Jackson family in the press, they seem to want to blame Dr. Murray. What culpability do they share? Are they to blame? After all they watched for years as son Michael slid further into addiction, mental illness and obscurity. Surely this must have been a problem long before Michael had hired Dr. Murray to be his personal physician. What other doctors wrote prescriptions to Michael Jackson? Did the family attempt to intervene? Maybe they did, we just don’t know. How about the sycophantic insulation of people collecting paychecks from Jackson (family seems to be included in this arena) are they listed as murderers? How about his adoring public and the people who watched him disintegrate before their very eyes?

Like so many others before him, Michael Jackson died of addictive disease. Denial will fuel the disease as will shame, secrecy, and not holding people accountable – but do we blame the drug dealer? In this case the dealer is a physician, often that is the case.  What about Michael Jackson himself? Did Dr. Murray hold a gun to his head, making him ingest drugs?

All kinds of things contribute to the death of an addict and it all funnels into the disease of addiction. Family dynamics, unethical doctors, denial, shame, all symptoms of a deadly disease.

I think Dr. Murray should be held accountable for his treatment of Michael Jackson and I think he should face the full extent of the law but I don’t think he killed him. Maybe blaming Dr. Murray is part of the diseased family system and cultural belief; we even want a quick fix to understand an overdose. Are we an addicted culture?


Sober is the New Black in 2010!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2009 by corecompany


I am sad to report that I still have a job. I am still the CEO of the core company and we still do what we do: intervene, manage crisis, consult on treatment options, manage a sober living, advocate for policy reform, produce a TV show. This is not really an advertisement to the four of you who read this, it’s a long way to let you know that addiction is alive and well and continuing to create havoc in communities, families, schools & work environments. With the Holidays in full swing and winding down, how did substance misuse impact you? Family fights? Car crashes? Overdose? Someday, I will teach history and coach baseball. I would like to think that will happen because my business is obsolete, more than likely, it will happen because I need a change. Fear not, I’m not going anywhere for a while.

1)   Michael Jackson: What’s to say? I hope bubbles is OK and isn’t stuffing his feelings with too many bananas. The man walked around with a chimp.

2)   DJ AM. Sad, sad, case. A great guy, tried really hard, lost his struggle.

3)   Britney Murphy: “Natural Causes”?  Huh? Well, technically cocoa leaves are natural.

4)   Mexican Blood Bath: More people have been killed in the Mexican border towns in the drug war than in Iraq. Talk about terror and right here. Where is the discourse on this? C’mon CNN, Fox, etc., lets see this discussed.

5)   Ted Kennedy: One of the Good Old Timers, never found recovery and what a tragic thing that was, what could he have been as a sober guy?

6)   Josh Hamilton: Great example of owning one’s own imperfections and trying to do better. Didn’t make excuses, didn’t blame, didnt minimize, showed that recovery and the people in it are imperfect and that for most is part of the deal.

7)   Diane/Daniel Schuler: Denial kills. Enabling does too.

8)   Dash Snow: A cliché of his own youthful arrogance and ego. Beautifully talented, brilliant young mind lost to the disease.

9)   Gil Kerlikowske: Is he with us? Is he not? Is he a reformer? Is he a cop? Where are you Gil? Great seeing you at the recovery rally, hope to see more of you in our sub-culture

10)  Redmond O’Neal: dismissed as an overindulged Hollywood brat, and lets face it, that is likely accurate. Also a very troubled young guy suffering from the disease and forever guilty at being absent from his mother’s passing.

11)  Chris Kennedy Lawford: Great work for the wretched of the earth. Who is dismissed more than poor people, afflicted with IV addiction and a rotting liver? I’m not sure. Great work coming forward and using lineage for the greater good. Keep it going, brother.

12) Levi Johnston. Addict? I don’t know. Child of addiction? Almost certain. His mother has multiple arrests on drug charges and his father is AWOL, bad idea for a young guy in the spot light and a new father himself to be self-determining. To add to the pain, impossibly stupid, gun-toting moose hunter hates him and enters into pissing match. Really, Governor? I mean resigned Governor. Call me anytime you want to talk about it Levi.

13) Tom Amiano: Someone had to do it. Someone had to say “Hey, let’s decriminalize Marijuana”. Well, lots of people say it but he wrote a bill, wears a suit, and is a legit city politician. Bringing it into honesty.

14) John Odom: Died of an overdose. How sad, where was baseball when this kid was spinning out?

15)  Michael Phelps: Whatever, he smokes weed. So? All I can say is don’t share yours with him. Can you imagine the bong hits that guy could take?

And so, it goes on, the reform, the fight, the tragedy and the redemption. Many, many, happy tales of how recovery and intoxicant free-living works. Maybe my New Year resolution should be to throw some happy tales in the mix.

Is Michael Jackson’s Death a Wake Up Call?

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , on July 15, 2009 by corecompany

gil kerlikowske2

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Gil Kerlikowske called Michael Jackson’s death a “wake up call about prescription drugs”.  I guess. Is anyone confused about this? Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Judy Garland, Anna Nicole, Heath Ledger, Chet Baker, Jean-Michele Basquit, Lenny Bruce, Kurt Cobain, (is America awake yet?), Chris Farley, River Phoenix, Jimi Hendrix (now? Now is America awake? Must have hit the snooze button), Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Chris Penn, Charlie Parker, Freddie Prinze, Dee Dee Ramone, Sid Vicious, Hank Williams. Arguably none of these other people were as famous as Michael, maybe Marilyn Monroe, but wouldn’t these other drug related deaths be wake up calls? Are we so loaded that even with a wake up call we go right back to sleep.

            The problem with the wake up call idea is that it implies that chemical dependency is a lesson to learn.  That the answer to this complex health issue is ‘education”. Kerlikowske has been quoted as saying “addiction is a disease”. Wake up calls make no sense. It’s really pretty offensive. If Jackson had died of Leukemia would Kerlikoske call it a “wake up call”? No, no he wouldn’t. That would imply that he was “at fault” and “deserved” his death. If this serves as a wake up call the wake up is to us that we still don’t think of addiction as a diagnosable disease!