Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Death of Anna Nicole's Son Reported "Not Natural"
My first reaction upon hearing this news was very near to heartbreak. I can't imagine giving birth to one child and then quickly losing another. My second reaction, upon hearing that the initial coroner's statement that young Daniel's death was "not natural" was disgust and sorrow. I have no knowledge of Anna Nicole's lifestyle, but I am not alone in my impressions over the last several years that she often appears to be under the influence of something, and it ain't just stupidity. Having lived for many years with a man addicted to hydrocodone, I can't look at her and not think that the woman is "on something." I will not be at all surprised if the cause of her son's death is due to the ingestion of some kind of mind-altering chemical.

The celebrity confession industry of late has included many admissions of pharmaceutical abuse -- mainly opiates/painkillers. The tearful, tortured and sincere filmed disclosures - a la Barbara Walters -- are nearly ubiquitous, and treated as a form of edu-tainment. We congratulate them for coming forward and enriching us with their travails. The general public -- and I'll admit, I am among them, once in a while -- seems to devour all the salacious details, with little regard for their dysfunction and the illegality of their behavior. The rule of thumb seems to be, the more likable and famous a person is, the less likely they are to be viewed as addicts and criminals.

Art, however, does not seem to be imitating life. The common folk who are using and abusing prescription drugs are prosecuted, yet the doctors who prescribe the drugs seem to be, for the most part, free of any responsibility or blame. To coin a phrase once used by my favorite vlogger, allow me "to get anecdotal on your ass." A woman with whom I was once acquainted, was being prescribed the same scripts for percocet, vicodin, valium, and soma, from three different doctors. Every month, she managed to enlist the help of another drug abuser to assist her in paying for the scripts. Her various partners in crime took their cuts (the average street cost for any of them varied, from $4 - $8 per pill), and she was left with the remainder of the pills, sometimes 50 or 60 of each every month.

None of the doctors ever knew about one another.
None of the doctors ever cross-referenced pharmacies.
No one ever knew what was going on.

Until it was too late, and my friend died, the official cause listed on the coroner's report as "acute drug intoxication." No one, including myself, believed she wanted to end her life. But her poor and self-destructive choices nonetheless resulted in her passing. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. But doctors should be held accountable, too. Our "war on drugs" still seems to be focused on the bottom rungs of the ladder, so it's ultimately those with the problems, who need help, that are getting punished. Meanwhile, the D.O.'s who didn't follow protocol continue fucking up with no one to answer to but their own consciences, if they have them at all.

My soapbox is creaky. But this topic in its entirety is still a sore one for me. My heart goes out to Anna Nicole and her family. It's unfortunate in this case that the apple may not have fallen far from the tree.


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