Sara Bellum
October 24 2013

Earlier this month, the TV show “Glee” aired its tribute episode to Cory Monteith and his character, Finn Hudson. Though it’s known that Cory died from a combination of alcohol and heroin, the show didn’t reveal Finn’s cause of death. As one character says, “Everyone wants to talk about how he died too, but who cares. One moment in his whole life—I care more about how he lived.”

There’s truth in that sentiment—how a person dies doesn’t change how much they are missed by those left behind. By not focusing on the cause of death or even mentioning drug abuse in the episode, the cast was able to celebrate Finn/Cory’s life without getting into a complicated discussion about drug abuse and addiction.

But these are complicated problems. Some people may blame Cory for causing his own death through drug use. However, NIDA research shows that once a person is addicted to a drug or alcohol, using is no longer a choice. Blaming people who use drugs leads to stigma—looking at a person negatively or with judgment.

Costars Speak Out

“Glee” didn’t completely ignore Cory’s drug abuse, however. Immediately after the episode, the following public service announcement (PSA) aired:

Cory’s castmates say that he didn’t look or act like an “addict”—and that’s because addiction can affect anyone, of any age and from any walk of life. Addiction doesn’t just happen to “bad” people. It’s not a punishment. It’s a brain disease.

Other “Glee” PSAs urge anyone struggling with drug abuse to “Get Real” and get treatment so they can live their true lives, free from addiction. If you or someone you know needs help, call the toll-free helpline, 1-800-662-HELP.

Watch all the “Glee” PSAs.

Glee PSA: Addict

Glee PSA: Myths

Glee PSA: Get Real

Glee PSA: Future Plans

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