Monday, 31 August 2009

The drugs do work

Once upon a time, a celebrity's drug habit was considered a secret shame. Publicists were regularly dispatched to explain away their slurred speech, event no-shows and crusty detritus clogging their nostrils. But something changed recently, and now it seems that rampant class A consumption is another route to enhanced celebrity status.

Fresh from his mother's funeral, 'troubled' Redmond O'Neal announced that he wanted to honour Farrah Fawcett's memory by having his ongoing struggle with addiction televised in a new reality show. Sadly, anyone keen to watch the adventures of this brattish Hollywood dropout, who looks like Prince Harry reimagined as a hoodie, will have to wait. Well, for four months at least, until Redmond is released from the Californian detention centre where he's currently battling to clean up his act. Cynical journalists have suggested that Redmond's slate-wiping exercise is motivated less by the idea of paying his respects to Farrah, and more by the fact that he won't get his inheritance until he gets 'clean and sober'.

Meanwhile, over in Utah, the Cirque Lodge rehab facility is rolling out its vomit-stained red carpet for regular guest Melanie Griffith - another child of famous parents who suffers from a notoriously addictive personality. The 52-year old actress (and cautionary tale for anyone considering plastic surgery - Demi, I mean you) is currently undergoing her third stint in rehab, although this trip has been described as part of her "commitment to stay healthy". Presumably going for a jog and drinking some mineral water just wasn't dramatic enough.

Interestingly, drug use can embellish careers even beyond the grave. Just look at DJ AM, who died this week from a presumed crack overdose. As a 'celebrity DJ' he worked the Hollywood party circuit and counted such high-class luminaries as Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian as close friends, but didn't exactly trouble the 'who's who' lists. However, the eulogies posted on Twitter by his tabloid-friendly mates have managed to raise his profile far higher than anything he ever accomplished himself.

However, there's always an exception to prove the rule. And here in the UK it's Kerry Katona. Her over-worked septum has seen her dumped by Iceland after a painfully long-running ad campaign. And let's face it, when Iceland worries about the effect you're having on its brand, you really have hit rock-bottom. But Kerry's unwilling to give up snorting, so much so that even her husband Mark Croft is worried enough to tell the News of the World about it (for a fee of course).

It's clear that all of these people have substance abuse issues, but it's not the drugs that seem to be the problem. When it comes to maters of addiction, fame seems to be the real trigger.

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