When I was little, to call Michael Jackson the King of Pop was an understatement. Today, children use his name as a schoolyard insult. The media coverage of the death seems to have focused more on his work than his antics. Set to the tune of his many, many hits, he seems like less of a sideshow monstrosity and more like an old friend who was just very, very, sick.
Preliminary reports point to a Demerol addiction as the cause of death. In BC, we talk a good game about treating addiction as a disease, but I don’t think we really know how to do that. We’re still caught up with the idea that addiction is simply the product of moral failure. We don’t know the science behind it and we don’t know what’s involved in treating it. Because of that, we can’t take action to help the average addict on Pender Street, much less a heavily enabled celebrity like Michael Jackson. Perhaps his passing will help us realize how little we know and put us on a path to get the answers we need.