Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:
Texarkana Gazette, Feb. 4, 2014
On Sunday we were shocked by the news Philip Seymour Hoffman had been found dead.
After all, he was just 46 years old, in the prime of his life and career. He was a brilliant actor, capable of playing an amazing range of roles. An Oscar winner.
He seemed to have everything to live for.
But he died of an overdose, found with a needle still in his arm.
Hoffman had battled drugs and booze as a young man. He had been clean for more than two decades before a brief relapse last year, followed by a stint in rehab.
Apparently it didn’t take.
His Hollywood contemporaries and millions of fans are mourning. That’s understandable.
We mourn as well. But we are also angry.
It’s an old story. Fame, fortune, success. And then an early death due to drugs.
Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrix. Elvis Presley. John Belushi. River Phoenix. Chris Farley. Michael Hutchence. Heath Ledger. Brittany Murphy. Brad Renfro. Amy Winehouse. Whitney Houston. Cory Monteith. And those are just a few.
Their deaths get a lot of press. There is a lot of talk about addiction as a disease, its casualties as victims.
Then the headlines fade and everything gets back to normal. Until the next time a big name falls to drugs. And there is always a next time.
The truth is dozens of addicts die every day, thousands each year. Some from overdose, others from disease, others whose bodies just give out.