Anyone who thinks dying from an overdose is selfish has a weird idea of what an addict wants out of life. There comes a point at which drinking, drug use, all that - they're not fun anymore. Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't out partying. He was alone in his bathroom, compelled. Cory Monteith in his hotel room. Chris Kelly in his living room.
We like brilliant men to be brilliant at all times and so we brush aside any indication that brilliant men might, like us ordinary men, be capable of brokenness, which means men like Hoffman and Heath Ledger before him, though richly brilliant, often end up dying the impoverished death of broken men who have been impossibly fractured by some intimate failure.
Often people are aware of their addictive behaviour and would like to stop or slow down. However, the illusion of the addiction can be so powerful that the fear of not being able to cope without it is overwhelming and can suffocate even the smallest attempt to take control of the situation and muster the confidence to change.
Drugs being normalised on prime time television, you could argue, is harmless. It might not be original, but it's funny, and loads of people smoke cannabis, anyway. On the other hand, you may think it dangerously perpetuates the myths that drug use is entertaining, harmless and that it's no big deal.
I can tell you here and now that I think it is a huge mistake to legalise cannabis use because I have seen and witnessed first hand how smoking cannabis at a young age can ruin a persons life. Instead of saying to our young that it is acceptable to smoke cannabis we need to educate them to make better choices and to inform them of the dangers of taking drugs.
To some, khat, variously spelled cott or qat, is known as "the flower of paradise". The leaves are chewed by many people in countries like Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia, in much the same way that coca leaves are chewed in South America. It's a social drug used by millions of people, and in Muslim countries it offers a high that is not banned by the Koran.
I just read a story written by Richard Branson that he wants to relax the laws on smoking marijuana and I am worried that if this happens then more young people like I did will think that it is ok to smoke a joint. The thought that my little brother back home could buy marijuana easily just like buying chewing gum makes me very worried.
The founding principle of the NHS is that it is free at the point of need. Can the new system in England sustain this? Will healthcare be free for long-term conditions such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis etc probably yes - even this right wing market driven government may not go so far as to change that.