Nothing rattles Hollywood like the needless death of one of its own.
Within hours of the sudden passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman on Sunday from an apparent drug overdose, the celebrity world was publicly registering its disbelief on social media. Everyone from George Clooney to Channing Tatum and Ellen DeGeneres tweeted their condolences.
Actress-singer Demi Lovato also took to Twitter to register her shock at Seymour’s far-too-soon passing, but she also used the moment to address the broader issue of drug addiction.
A heartfelt tweet sent out by Lovato on Monday gets straight to the heart of the matter.
“I wish more people would lose the stigma and treat addiction as the deadly and serious DISEASE that it is,” the former X Factor judge says in her missive. “Drugs are not something to glamorize in pop music or film to portray as harmless recreational fun. It’s not cute, ‘cool’ or admire able [sic].”
And while Lovato may be only 21, she knows whereof she speaks. In 2011, she went to rehab for addictions to alcohol, cocaine and marijuana; she has publicly admitted that she used to smuggle cocaine on airplanes and couldn’t go longer than an hour without using the drug.
Lovato has also received treatment for the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia.
And that’s why she thinks it’s time to take a hard look at how drug addiction is depicted in the media.
In her own words: “It’s time people start really taking action on changing what we’re actually singing/rapping about these days because you never know if you could be glamorizing a certain drug to a first time user or alcoholic who could possibly end up dead because they end up suffering from the same deadly disease so many have already died from.”
Lovato’s cautionary message was echoed by former Desperate Housewives star Shawn Pyfrom, who revealed that he was a recovering alcoholic and a drug addict after hearing about Hoffman’s death, allegedly due to heroin.
“Yesterday I celebrated five months of sobriety,” Pyfrom told a reporter. “I could not hear of another person being robbed of their life, due to addiction, knowing that I stayed quiet about mine.”
Both Lovato and Pyfrom are apt to labeled uncool by their peers for publicly discussing their addictions, but they should be applauded for speaking out about a deadly health issue that just claimed one of Hollywood’s finest actors.