Monday, July 25, 2011

Amy Winehouse and the reality of addiction

Not everything written about Amy Winehouse is terrible, or self-serving, or misjudged. Steer clear of anything that features Katy Perry and her "I know someone who knew Amy quite well" spotlight-hogging, and instead read Deborah Cohen's piece for the British Medical Journal:

I’d been to several festivals where she’d played — or tried to. Incoherent and stumbling, close-ups on large screens beamed out a small pale girl whose wrinkled skin belied her age.

People turned, tutted, walked away. Some jeered and booed. Others stood and watched wide-eyed in horror. (Some wide-eyed from ingesting a similar cocktail of class As and booze — their drug consumption not having turned bad.)

You have to question the wisdom of thrusting such a vulnerable person onto a stage—trial by rather hypocritical festival going crowd. Sympathy, on the whole, was notable by its absence.

But for all those whose every woe or entry into an expensive rehab clinic is an opportunity for a front page exclusive, there are thousands more whose lives are beset by addictions away from the camera lens.

The Priory, with its en-suite bathrooms and lush surroundings, has become synonymous with the excesses of celebrity lifestyle—it’s detox luxe. But if someone who does have the means to afford tailored addiction treatment gets sucked back in once they find themselves surrounded by coked-up liggers again, what about all those who find themselves relying on an already fragmented drug service?

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