Pubdate: Sun, 19 Feb 2012
Source: Rapid City Journal (SD)
Copyright: 2012 The Rapid City Journal
Author: Bill O'Reilly


The media have no clue how to cover the death of Whitney Houston. 
That's because she was slowly dying for years and many in the press 
simply averted their eyes.

It was ultra-disturbing that a beautiful woman blessed with an 
extraordinary singing voice chose a self-destructive path in full 
view of the world. I mean, here is a person who signed a $100 million 
recording contract, actually sold 170 million albums and commanded 
high six figures to deliver a 90-minute concert. Houston was a 
genuine international star, and yet she often was seen in public 
disheveled and confused, her substance addiction apparent. The media 
simply did not know what to say.

We live in a time in which addiction is categorized as a disease, and 
to do what Nancy Reagan once did and urge people to reject narcotics 
is considered uncool. How many young performers do we see doing 
public service announcements warning children to avoid intoxication? 
Right now, I can't think of one.

There is no question that some of us have a history of addiction in 
our families. There are folks who can use drugs casually and avoid 
dependence, but they are the exception. Once a person decides to 
dabble in cocaine, or opiates such as heroin and OxyContin, they are 
putting themselves at grave risk. And they know it.

There are legions of famous people who wound up dead just like 
Houston. From Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson, the signposts are 
impossible to miss. No matter how rich and powerful you are, drugs 
can and will destroy you.

The current medical marijuana ruse is a great example of a society 
walking away from a responsible position. Ask any drug rehab 
counselor, and he or she will tell you that pot often leads a person 
to harder drug use and is mentally addictive itself.

On the kid front, the situation is dire. Once a child enters the 
world of intoxication, their childhood is gone. Presto, they are 
jaded. That's how dangerous drugs and alcohol are to immature minds. 
Society has an obligation to protect its children, not to tacitly 
accept or embrace mind-altering agents such as marijuana.

Houston, however, was an adult who made a decision to embrace the 
drug life. Reports say she tried to rehabilitate herself a few times, 
but you know how that goes. Once a person enters the hell of 
addiction, there is no easy way out.

And that's how the Whitney Houston story should be covered. As a 
cautionary tale. Another life vanquished by substance abuse.

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Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor." 
This column originates on the website
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