For decades, Hollywood singers, actors and performers have died because of drug overdoses. Famous celebrities like Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson have been victims to these unfortunate circumstances. Recent news of the sudden death of Philip Seymour Hoffman due to overdose has once again shocked the industry as well as fans. According to an estimate about 66% of celebrities do drugs. However, as more celebrities come forward with confessions of their addiction issues, it is safe to assume that there are many more celebrities that succumb to the lure of drugs.

Why do so many celebrities get addicted?

Addiction never discriminates because it can happen to anyone. However, high expectations, wealth, fame, pressure and the public scrutiny are all factors that contribute to leading celebrities down a dangerous path of addiction and death. High profile performers and celebrities are under the public scrutiny 24/7. They have to try to maintain a fa├žade of success and perfection. This can be incredibly difficult for anyone to handle. Many of them turn to alcohol and drugs to try to cope and manage the pressure.

Can Hollywood do anything to address the issue?

Magazines, music videos and movies have often projected the image that drug use is cool and that the world of celebrities is like a dream. However, they also need to show the fatal effects of drug use. For regular people, there are severe consequences of using alcohol and drugs in workplace because they are held to a very high standard of accountability and compliance. People think twice about using drugs because they can lose their jobs and have to deal with humility and shame that comes with it. For celebrities, there is little if any penalty or professional accountability and consequences of using drugs.

If record labels and production houses were to hold them to the same high standards of accountability and compliance, they would have more motivation for getting treatment since they would have more to lose. Many child actors have also suffered from addiction because they never really had a normal childhood. Being a part of Hollywood from a very young age can have devastating effect on any child and it often leads to addiction problems later on.

What can the public do?

For years, the bad behavior of celebrities has been quietly swept under the carpet. Celebrities have also learned to think of themselves as special as a consequence. They often believe they can get away with just about anything. With fame, there are always people catering to celebrities and the public is willing to forgive bad behavior. However, the trend is slowly changing. Famous people acting out and misbehaving are not brought to attention in our Twitter and Facebook crazy world. Alec Baldwin had been recently kicked off from a flight because he thought he did not have to follow the rules that applied to everyone else. If the general public was to hold celebrities accountable for their actions and treat them like everyone else, it might help ease the addiction problem.

More importantly, we have to learn and accept the fact that celebs also deserve their privacy and have to ease up on our intense scrutiny and pressure on them to make their lives less challenging.

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