No One Cared About Addiction Until Their Favorite Rapper Died

We must have sympathy and look for solutions instead of shaming addicts until it’s too late.


Rebecca Lorenzo, Copy Editor

Here’s something that doesn’t make sense: People stigmatize addiction and shame sufferers into silence but are shocked and distraught when they die.

Mac Miller received an outpour of respect and condolences for his family after his untimely death at age 26. On the other hand, singer Demi Lovato was ridiculed on social media after surviving an overdose by just minutes. The activity on social media is inconsistent and shows that people aren’t empathetic towards mental illness or addiction at all. Instead, living addicts have become fair game and are blamed for suffering from mental illness.

Lovato reportedly overdosed on fentanyl-laced Oxycodone and would have died if first responders hadn’t revived her with Narcan. Within minutes, a whirlwind of hate and tasteless memes swarmed insta-feeds mocking the singer.

Although Lovato has spoken candidly of her addiction, mental illness and eating disorder for years at the risk of her career to benefit her fans, and even created two YouTube documentaries where her friends reveal the ugliest moments in her addiction, there was little respect following the incident. 

On the other hand, people were quick to mourn Miller and didn’t dare share distasteful jokes. HypeBeast, a trending news outlet, reported that Mac Miller’s streaming numbers for his music had increased by 970 percent following his untimely death, and the figures have also led to seven of his albums re-entering the Billboard 200 chart.

Lovato’s mother, Dianna De La Garza, revealed that she “just didn’t know for two days if (Lovato) was going to make it or not,” in an interview with Newsmax TV. Evidently, being close to death is not “good enough” for the masses to show the same respect for Lovato as they did for Miller.

In the 2016 documentary “Fader,” Mac Miller said, “Overdosing is just not cool…you don’t go down in history because you overdosed. You just die.” That statement is haunting. The rapper is right- there’s nothing cool or funny about overdosing. Sure, some addicts are lucky enough to survive, but the possibility of death is as real as any other mental illness and should be treated as such.

Part of society’s problem is that we blame the addict themselves for the “choice” of addiction, ridiculing them and making issues worse instead of looking for a solution. To be fair, media has made a lot of progress in reducing the stigma of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental illnesses. It is time to do the same for addiction.

Blaming Ariana Grande is not a way to find justice here. That is just looking for the next person to scapegoat and bully down a dark path. Blaming the individual for “choosing” drugs does absolutely nothing. With all the time spent writing and sharing articles about how “Addiction is a Choice, Not a Disease,” one could have easily educated themselves on the psychology behind addiction and what can be done about it if they really cared to advocate for something significant.

We must stop cherry-picking which mental illnesses are stigmatized and which are validated. No matter what you think of addiction, it is killing people and no amount of pointing fingers will ever save a person over therapy.

Demi Lovato deserves respect. Mac Miller deserves respect. Any addict, in any shape or form, is a human suffering from mental illness and deserves respect. If you are truly mourning Mac Miller, wake up and stop shaming every other addict who is lucky to be alive. You never know what harm your little “jokes” could cause.