Philip Seymour Hoffman And What You Need To Tell Your Kids About Drugs

 

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John Belushi, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Corey Monteith, Philip Seymour Hoffman...the list is endless.

The news surrounding the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman provides, unfortunately yet again, an opportunity to talk to your kids about drugs and about the insidious nature of addiction and mental illness.

In my home, it is also an opportunity to talk to my kids about the fact that although there is an enormous amount of attention paid to the deaths of these famous, talented people, they should understand that the bottom line is that these are addicts whom have paid the ultimate price for their actions. We have to be careful that in our desire to honor their lives and talent, we don't overlook or glorify in any way the way in which they died.

There is no doubt that Philip Seymour Hoffman was a brilliant actor who should be remembered for his contributions and honored for his talent.  But when talking to our kids about him, we should also tell them that his death was both foreseeable and preventable.

Hoffman was an educated addict who understood that every time he stuck that needle in his arm whether for the  first or the last time that he was playing Russian roulette.  He knew that his addiction would lead to either jail, recovery, or death.

So why would he risk it? We need to talk to our kids about addiction as a disease; a disease that takes hold of us and ruins lives. I have seen it firsthand in my own family as many of us have. Yet, they also need to know that as a society, we hold people responsible for their actions, addict or not.  If you drive drunk or under the influence of any drug and hurt somebody, you are going to jail and we won't feel sorry for you.

Finally, explain to your kids that we have these conversations with them about drugs and addiction, because we want them prepared for the first time; the time when their friend says, "go ahead, try it, it won't kill you."  It is then, RIGHT THEN, that they need to draw their line in the sand. Because that choice could save their lives and keep them some day from ending up with a needle in their arm dead on a bathroom floor.

RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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