by Jake Katz
From LSD users at Woodstock to molly users at clubs, drugs have always been in the hands of celebrities, usually championed by rock-and-roll rebels. However, the fatal heroin overdose of beloved actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at the age of 46 brings to light the tragic trend of prominent actors falling prey to drug use.
Hoffman was most recently in Catching Fire, the second movie in the Hunger Games Trilogy, and also won an Academy Award for his performance in Capote. According to cnn.com, Hoffman had been clean for 23 years before relapsing in 2013.
Many viewed Hoffman as one of the “good guys” in Hollywood, as he was often seen walking his three children to school and was known for his professionalism on set.
Unfortunately, Hoffman’s death is one of many recent celebrity drug-related fatalities. Drug addiction has become an epidemic among the celebrity community; these unfortunate examples portray the profession in a poor light, as well as convey an unhealthy message to younger fans. This is complicated by the fact that those who suffer from addiction are not truly in control of their choices.
Another recent death due to an overdose was that of Glee star Cory Monteith. Monteith died in July 2013 after mixing alcohol and heroin. He was a role model for many aspiring actors and singers, and the fact that he succumbed to drugs is a negative example for fans.
Many other actors who have been associated with kids’ shows have also revealed that they are drug addicts. Probably the most notable is Lindsay Lohan. Lohan fell victim to drugs and alcohol and has been in and out of rehab and prison since the mid-2000s. Lohan has gone from role model to cautionary tale in a matter of years because her addiction’s impact on her career.
The effects of drugs on celebrity culture are truly tragic. Professionals who were known as role models are now finding themselves in rehabilitation clinics, or worse.
This problem has affected the whole spectrum of celebrity culture. It is devastating to see these entertainers’ once-promising careers ending prematurely. More awareness may help others understand and avoid similar tragedies.