Drug Policy

Did the Drug War Make it Any Easier for Whitney Houston to Seek Help For Substance Abuse?


Pop star Whitney Houston is dead at the age of 48. While the official cause of death has not yet been announced, she had a long history of drug problems and was in and out of rehab over the years and it's likely that substance abuse played some role. As USA Today reminds us

[In 2002]she did an interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her upcoming Just Whitney. She admitted using drugs in the highly watched TV interview, which included her infamous declaration, "Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. OK? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack."…

In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey to promote I Look To You, Houston…confessed that she laced her marijuana with rock cocaine and revealed that she'd spent time in rehab and had undergone an intervention by her mother.

Here's a question for proponents of the drug war: Does prohibition - which demonstrably fails to keep illegal drugs out of the hands of people who want them - simply make it that much harder for people like Houston to admit and seek problems for their problems? Everyone knows that it's no easy thing for addicts or problem users of anything to admit they need help. Does criminalizing the behavior on top of everything else make it that much harder to for such people to seek the help they need?

Here's one of Houston's signature songs: