Way too little, way too late

July 10, 2009

People, can we talk again? Apparently, the situation with Michael Jackson’s untimely death has taken another perverse turn. Now all of a sudden, people are streaming out of  their respective hidey-holes to spill the beans on Jackson’s “alleged” excessive drug use. CNN.com reports that he supposedly took “10 Xanax” a night. Ten? That sounds like enough to take down a fully-grown buffalo. If that is true, how can one frail human being survive that kind of dosage? Which, of course is what the police want to know.

Here’s what I want to know…WHY didn’t anyone within Jackson’s circle try harder to get him the help he so desperately needed? Where were they when he was still alive?

One person after another is coming forward now — NOW — to say “Well, when I was a (insert lackey name here) working at Neverland, I saw him take (insert name of drug here) every day for (insert length of time here)” Okay, Mr. Lackey, that’s all well and good, but maybe, perhaps, you should have spoken up THEN instead of now? Did that little nugget of a “really good idea”  ever enter your mind?

Yes, I know that people are ultimately responsible for the choices they make. But, we’re talking about a man who was allegedly taking so many pills he had to have numerous doctors in numerous states write him numerous prescriptions. At what point did the doctors decide it was “okay” to prescribe such large amounts without ever thinking “Ya know, this is a lot of medication for one individual — perhaps I should say something.” And if the press reports are accurate, what about all the other employees — the ones who worked side by side with him and went to retrieve these pills — where is their responsibility in this?

Yes, yes you should have said something. To someone. Again and again. I would have started with a simple, two letter word — “No.” Followed up with, “You need help now. Let’s get you that help.”

I cannot reiterate often enough how our unwillingness to say “No, I will not enable you. You need help” to someone involved with a life-threatening addiction will cause them trouble every time. In Jackson’s case, not only could it have played a key role in his death, but now several doctors are under investigation for criminal behavior. Good — I say “prosecute and send them to jail, if found guilty.” Get them off the street and away from other patients – they don’t deserve to be practicing medicine because apparently the Hippocratic Oath of  “At first do no harm” means nothing to them.

There comes a time when a person needs to have the integrity and honor to say “I WILL NOT ENABLE YOU. I CARE TOO MUCH”.

It’s too late for Jackson. Now let’s go save Lindsey Lohan. And please — don’t start with her mother — she hasn’t learned how to say “no” yet.