Don’t blame Philip Seymour Hoffman: Why we need to change the way we treat addiction

philip seymour hoffman

Gone too soon. And for the worst reason. Photo from TV Week.

News about celebrities comes out every day. Who’s getting divorced, who’s having a baby, who’s drag racing in the streets. But no news can be worse than the most permanent news story–who died. On Feb. 2, Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away. The Academy Award winner has been described as one of the best actors of our generation. He was 46. He had years of great performances left in him. He was found on his bathroom floor in his New York City apartment, with a syringe in his arm and bags of heroin surrounding him.

I found out about the news the way a lot of people probably did, on Twitter. The tweet I saw first came from “Glee” actor Kevin McHale: “So sick of drugs taking people away from us. This is insane.”

I read it, agreed and favorited it. Then something hit me about that tweet. He wasn’t just talking about Hoffman. This past summer, McHale’s co-star and friend, Cory Monteith passed away, also due to a drug overdose.

And they’re not the only ones. Over the past few years, we have lost countless celebrities to drugs. People who shouldn’t have left us yet.

You may know him as Finn Hudson. Cory Monteith 1982-2013. Photo Credit: people.com

“Glee” star Cory Monteith, who passed away this summer. Photo from People.

Hollywood, a place that is so focused on making dreams come true, comes with so much baggage. So much temptation, and a disease that welcomes its victims with just a little persuasion and widely open arms.

I’m sick of it.

When you become a fan of someone’s work, it’s almost as if a tiny bit of them becomes a part of you. They give you so much joy and inspiration. When they die, you feel as if you lost someone, despite the fact that you’ve never met.

These people aren’t just our idols. They’re fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, boyfriends, girlfriends and friends. These are real people that we’re losing, and this is no way we should lose them.

It’s easy to be mad at them. You feel like they were selfish, that they weren’t thinking about all the success they had, the responsibility of being in the public eye, their personal lives. But at the end of the day, what’s the point of all that? Judging them and criticizing their bad decisions won’t bring them back.

The only thing we can do is mourn, and spread awareness of the dangers of addiction.

Stay strong.

Be an active witness and know the signs of addiction. OU has a collection of resources for students in recovery here.

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