Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Heroin Wins Again: GWAR Lead Singer Dead From Overdose

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Any music fan who has lived in the city of Richmond, VA since the early 80's knows of the band GWAR.  Their concerts are the stuff of legend.  It is only now in the wake of their singer Dave Brockie's death from an overdose of heroin that I regret never seeing them.  I am a KISS fan.  GWAR was like a local version of KISS.  While I can't comment on their music because, embarrassed to say, I haven't ever listened to it.  I am going to change that starting today.  

Let me be clear:  I am not trying to jump on the GWAR bandwagon just because of the recent news of lead singer Dave Brockie's demise at 50.  Rather, I am using this unfortunate news to highlight the epidemic of heroin overdoses taking place all over the country, and now, in the RVA (Richmond, VA  for those who don't live here).  When will it stop!?!

I am musician and a songwriter.  I love music.  However, I hate the myth that to be an artist or a creative person you must blow your brains out using illegal drugs.  It's just not true.  It is a lie.  And it makes me so angry when another artist dies because of drugs.  And who knows why Brockie used heroin.  He had his reasons and only he knew them.  In the end, it's sad that his life was stolen from him at such a young age. 

For those of  you who are reading this and  aren't familiar with the biology of addiction, I would like to share just a little bit about that.  At The Coleman Institute, we adhere to the 'disease model' in understanding addiction.  That is, addiction is a disease of the brain that is not the addict's fault for having.  No one asks for addiction.  The problem is when people start using drugs and alcohol, even for the first time, they can set off the dormant addiction in their head.  That's why it's dangerous to try alcohol and/or drugs even once.  

People often do bad things when they are under the influence.  They also do immoral things.  The reality is that they have lost control of their ability to make well-thought out decisions.  That does not excuse their behavior nor does it remove the possible consequences (see: Dave Brockie).  However, for too long, society has judged addicts and alcoholics as lazy, stupid, evil, immoral people when the reality is that addicts and alcoholics are sick people needing to get well.  

Unfortunately Dave Brockie's disease got the best of him.  Ironically, the average age of a rock star upon death is 52.  Brockie was only 50.  Was he hell-bent for destruction?  Who knows?  More importantly, who really cares.  What we must remember is that life is short and precious.  There are so many people suffering from addiction right now as I type this sentence in our city and around the world.  Be brave.  Reach out to someone in need and encourage them to get clean and stay clean.  Don't judge them.  Don't put them down.  See them as a sick friend who is in need of your help.  You'll be glad you did.  And check out GWAR.  They had Grammy nominations and a worldwide following.  Not bad for a little band that started at VCU in the 804.  

Let's remember Dave Brockie in all his glory as his character on stage singing with his band

(Dave "Oderus Urungus" Brockie 1963-2014)

At The Coleman Institute, we are passionate about helping people get clean and stay clean from opiates, alcohol, and benzos.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here for you. 

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