Addiction to drugs and alcohol touches the lives of millions of people. Regardless of economic or social status, the pain and loss of life hurt everyone equally. Sometimes when a celebrity or someone they love experiences addiction, they decide to take action. The resulting foundations and groups offer help and hope to others whose lives have been affected by addiction.
These groups offer a variety of options for help. Many focus on information and resources. Some offer insight into the coupling of addiction and mental health issues. Many shine a spotlight on helping young people understand how to avoid the perils of addiction. Overall, the goal is to take the pain of addiction to drugs and alcohol that touched a celebrity’s life or caused their death and use it to help prevent suffering for others.
The Etheridge Foundation
Melissa Etheridge, the Grammy-winning singer, and songwriter took the rock world by storm with her debut album in 1988. She became known for her moving songs about heartache and loss, but none could predict what was forthcoming. In May 2020, Etheridge lost her son. Beckett Cypher, 21, died from an opioid overdose. An avid snowboarder, Cypher suffered a broken ankle. He began taking pain pills for it, which resulted in a full-blown addiction.
Despite attempted interventions from Etheridge and others, Cypher could not pull himself out of his downward spiral. In reaction to the loss of her son, Etheridge created the Etheridge Foundation. The foundation’s website states that they aim to “support new scientific research into the causes and effects of opioid addiction.” Part of the foundation’s vision is to work with and support organizations investigating the underlying mental health conditions that are often part of drug addiction.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation
Amy Winehouse, an eclectic British singer, and songwriter captured the world’s attention with her album Back to Black in 2006. Despite her multiple music awards and seemingly charming life as the music world’s darling, she struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. At age 27, she died from alcohol poisoning in 2011. After her passing, her family established the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
The focus of the foundation is to help prevent drug and alcohol abuse by young people. According to the foundation’s website, they offer “face-to-face sessions, online assemblies, and workshops for students, parents, and teachers.” The foundation works to help inform and inspire disadvantaged youth who are vulnerable to developing addictions. Through programs like music therapy, the goal is to help young people avoid the trappings of addiction and reach their full potential.
Heath Ledger gained critical acclaim through his role in the groundbreaking film Brokeback Mountain. The actor struggled with drug abuse, specifically a reliance on prescription pills. In 2008, Ledger died from an accidental overdose. His autopsy, reported in several publications, revealed that he died from “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine.” Ledger won a posthumous Academy Award for his haunting performance as the Joker in the Batman reboot The Dark Knight.
In reaction to his son’s death, Kim Ledger founded an organization called ScriptWise. Its mission is to prevent the harms of prescription medication abuse through raising awareness, advocacy, and community engagement. ScriptWise states on its website that it is the “only non-profit organization dedicated solely to reducing the number of deaths in Australia from prescription medication misuse.” The foundation’s goals include improving access to treatment and advocating for a response to Australia’s prescription addiction crisis.
Angels at Risk
Angels at Risk is a non-profit group that seeks to help teenagers at risk for drug and alcohol abuse. The group hopes to raise awareness through early education, prevention, and intervention. Primary contributors to this organization include members of the Hollywood community:
- Actor Ted Danson
- Actress Mary Steenburgen
- Actor Tobey Maguire
- Actor John Brolin
- Actor Mel Gibson
- Reality TV personality Jack Osbourne
- Robert Belushi, nephew of actor John Belushi
Singer Layne Staley
Layne Staley was the singer for the iconic Seattle rock band Alice in Chains. They stood out as leaders of the wave of “grunge” acts that became popular in the early 1990s. It became known in the music world that Staley struggled with depression and addiction to heroin. He pulled away from live performances and cut himself off from the world. In 2002, he died from the ingestion of a speedball, a combination of heroin and cocaine.
His parents channeled their grief into providing help for others who deal with addiction. Through the website named after their son, they offer support and encouragement for those in heroin recovery. There are tips for those in recovery related to nutrition, exercise, dental health, and more.
The death of a celebrity or someone they love from an addiction to drugs or alcohol causes a rush of headlines. Sometimes the famous person or their surviving loved ones are moved to create a charitable group or foundation that addresses addiction. Spreading information, awareness, and resources for those in need can make something positive out of the ashes of a harrowing loss. The Detox Center of Colorado understands how difficult dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be. We offer supervised medical detoxification in a private setting in our scenic Denver area location. We assess your addiction history and formulate a plan designed to help you succeed. Our program monitors your physical and mental health to help you complete the detox process and move on to the next step. Call us today at (303) 952-5035 to find out how we can change your world and help you recover!