In a global internet frenzy, singer/songwriter Demi Lovato was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday, July 24. Although law-enforcement sources initially reported that Lovato had overdosed on heroin, a source close to the family denied all such statements.
Regardless of the reasons for Lovato’s hospitalization, the internet and her fans took a collective sigh of relief when her representative released a statement saying the singer was “awake and responsive.” The public remained in the dark about Lovato’s medical emergency until August 5, 2018, when Lovato released a heartfelt message on Instagram informing fans of her overdose and ongoing addiction. She thanked her fans, family, and God, and concluded the letter by saying, “I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten, and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting.” As of right now, Lovato is attending an unspecified rehab facility outside of California and will be working on her health and sobriety there over the next few months. According to TMZ, Lovato also flew to Chicago with her mother on August 10, 2018, “to see a psychiatrist who specializes in mental health, sobriety, and overall wellness.”
Demi Lovato has been consistently open with the public about her history of addiction and has been unafraid to address other mental health struggles; consequently, as a well-known pop star, she represents many others who are similarly struggling with substance abuse. According to the American Addiction Centers, “21.5 million Americans adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2014” and according to the Addiction Center, “Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction.” Sometimes, these serious addictions can lead to overdoses like Lovato’s which can, in many cases, be fatal. “100 people die every day from drug overdoses. The rate has tripled over the past 20 years”, says the Addiction Center.
Addiction and substance abuse are not issues to be taken lightly as they can severely damage or even end lives, and yet, these mental illnesses are so stigmatized, so ignored. It should not be acceptable to wait until after someone has overdosed, until after someone ends up in the hospital, to ask if they are okay. To offer them support. It should not be acceptable to pretend that addiction is not a disease. And it should definitely not be acceptable to treat addiction as if it is a joke, to turn it into a meme. The challenges Demi Lovato is facing are the challenges of so many, and it is time we stop alienating or teasing people for having to face them. It is time we instead start asking what we can do to help.
If you are struggling with addiction or substance abuse, please know that we at Redefy send you our love and support, and we encourage you to do whatever is necessary to help yourself.