“Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old.” – Russell Brand

There was something very personal when I read Russell Brand’s tribute to Amy Winehouse.  I had a brother with an addiction that spent many year’s in jail for doing menial things; stealing cigarettes, jeans, and pills.

Society viewed him as a criminal first, and an addict second.  However, most of the time, supporting the addiction requires the action of committing menial crimes.   I’m not condoning any form of illegal action.  Hell, I’m totally against marijuana and legalizing it, while everyone and their dog is doing it these days.

He, like Amy, was found dead in bed at the age of thirty-six.  His death was caused by a drug overdose.

To live with an addict, one realizes that their view of society is much different than the norm.  They feel that since they hold this addiction, society perceives them as the lowest of low class.  They feel like a rat in a corner.  An endless circle of wanting to find the light and the frustration of trying to get there.

“We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense.” – Russell Brand

Society needs to help these individuals.  Guide them and make them believe that their is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Ultimately, rehabilitation is their choice, but we must be there to support them and cheer their achievements.  Much like children, addicts need it.  Rehabilitation is like a rebirth.  Starting from scratch and learning how to deal again.  Throwing them in jail, only solidify’s their belief that they are not worth it.

Another thing that society needs to waiver on is our obsession with negative media. For example, if there is a newspaper article about the benefit of blueberries, and another one about an item that causes cancer, you can be rest assured that the latter will be spoken about on the news and around the water cooler. That blueberry article will be the furthest thing from our mind.

“Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall.” – Russell Brand

Instead of sensationalizing on the divorces, addictions, and trials of celebrities, our media stream needs guide society to embrace the goodness of people rather than their insecurities.

I am so proud of Russell Brand for writing this post.  I applaud his blunt and truthful approach to Amy Winehouse’s death.  He is living proof of what addicts require.  He is the voice.

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