Once again, another prolific artist has died from a suspected drug overdose, this time rapper Mac Miller. Miller died at only 26. Miller’s struggles with drugs were no secret, and in many ways his death was tragically predictable. We need to take a moment to ask ourselves why that is. How can a musician like Miller who exhibited warning sign after warning sign still fall through the cracks? One reason is that those cracks he fell through were cavernous.
The 27 Club
One of the major problems is acceptance. It’s just assumed by many that stardom brings with it a certain lifestyle including sex, drugs, and rock & roll. “And”, not “or”; drugs are assumed to be part of the equation.
Miller died a year short of joining the infamous “27 club”, a list of celebrities including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain—amongst many others—who lived hard and died young at age 27. Wikipedia describes this as a “cultural meme” but shouldn’t we see this as sign of institutional failure?
Depression: The Open Secret
As we’ve seen in light of the recent #metoo movement, there are some very serious problems built into Hollywood and the music industry. With regard to drug abuse and addiction among our musicians, so often there’s a shared problem with of unaddressed depression. Rich or poor, famous or obscure, depression doesn’t discriminate. Famous people also encounter other problems that the rest of us might not face.
The lime light provides little opportunity to escape. Most of us can seek help by joining a support group, but tabloids, paparazzi, and gossip can make this challenging for a star.
The idea of “poor little rich boy/girl” is also a problem. Stars often get less sympathy because it’s assumed that money can solve all their problems. But depression takes away a lot of a person’s ability to see the best escape routes, and one often doubles-down on the problem rather than the solution, especially in an environment with drugs as ubiquitous as the music industry.
Some people think it’s all about individual choice, but those of us not living in a monastery are forced to interact along side countless other people each day. Our lives and choices are intertwined, so even if we are acting in a purely selfish reason, it’s important to help each other out. Miller’s songs were often about his struggles with drugs, and those songs were being consumed by a largely teenage audience who understood his struggles.
Perhaps Miller could have achieved a successful recovery and then maybe his fans could see that as a part of their journey as well. But now, unfortunately they will have to continue their path without him. Hopefully Miller’s tragic example can help them avoid his downfall.
We need to find ways to end the stigma about talking about depression and drug addiction, and to make it possible for rich and poor alike to have access to the tools necessary to achieve a healthy recovery. And if you’re out their struggling with the same struggles that Mac Miller had, please seek help immediately. There are detox and rehab centers in Florida and every other state ready and willing to lend a hand. Honor Miller by finding the help in your life that he so desperately needed. Call today at (855) 441-2449.