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Editorial: Houston, you had a problem

Much of the American people’s attention has been focused on the shocking death Saturday of Whitney Houston.

The singing superstar’s voice was one of the best and most captivating of all time. The clips of her performances and the accolades that have poured in since she was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room were extremely touching, including the very poignant memorial tributes during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards spectacle.

However, it’s important to put things in perspective. Yes, Ms. Houston was a beautiful, glamorous, pampered celebrity whose talent rightfully earned her tons of money, but she was no better than anybody else, and some might argue she was worse. Pointing out her checkered past — and the possible role prescription drugs may have had in her demise — is not showing disrespect for the dearly departed.

Did past abuse by ex-husband Bobby Brown lead her to use illegal drugs and abuse alcohol? Did she use those potentially deadly sins right before she died? Did the drugs and alcohol lead to heart problems? Only the Los Angeles coroner knows or will soon know. Whatever the cause of death — accidental overdose, deliberate overdose, combination of pills and booze — there is a lesson for America.

Whitney Houston’s premature passing is a reminder to all of us that while life can be unfair and cruelly capricious, we must control our own destiny. It’s up to us to NOT use illegal drugs, to NOT drink too much alcohol, to NOT abuse prescription drugs.

And parents, if you love your kids you will redouble efforts to keep a close eye on them. They may not understand now why your vigilance seems overbearing, but hopefully they’ll understand later — and even thank you. ••

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