February 9, 2008
Heath Ledger and Personal Responsibility
The idea that Ledger himself may be culpable for his death eludes the left. It's easier to blame the US healthcare system.
As confirmed in last Wednesday's autopsy report, Heath Ledger died of an "accidental overdose" of prescription drugs. His system was found to have a mix of oxycodone (painkiller), hydrocodone (painkiller), diazepam (anxiety, insomnia), temazepam (insomnia), alprazolam (anxiety) and doxylamine (insomnia).
His family deserves our sympathy in their grief.
But left wing blogs such as Huffington Post saw his death as an opportunity to blame big pharma, the doctors, the FDA -- anything, please anything -- but Ledger himself. A couple posts from HP's Ledger blog:
"The pharmaceutical companies are the real drug pushers in our society. They are also the ones preventing us from having universal health care." posted 12:15 pm on 02/06/2008 by johnmorgan"Yes, we have a big problem in our society, and our addiction to medication is just a symptom of greater ills, exacerbated by the free reign of corporate advertising and lobbyist influence." posted 03:54 pm on 02/06/2008 by Cambio
But it wasn't just the blogs. This article by Naomi Wax (with credits at the NY Times and LA Times) lashed out on all the above, and claims we would have to be ‘drugged' to trust the FDA, big pharma's drugs, or our family doctors:
"...why is it that when our own health is at stake, mantras like, "It's FDA approved," "Drugs undergo years of testing," "My doctor recommended it," are suddenly assurance enough? It's as if we've been drugged."
Note: Naomi is currently working on a book about pill culture in America.
Having to defend the healthcare industry for Ledger's death is like having to defend McDonald's when people eat excessive quantities of Big Macs and become obese. Or having to defend the water industry when a woman drinks a lethal dose of H20.
The left's misdirected attempt to point the blame on the companies and the doctors whose drugs and care save millions of lives a year deserves a cold bucket of reality.
Let's unpack what has been reported:
- Ledger was found dead surrounded by pills.
- The autopsy confirmed he had six different prescription drugs in his system.
- Ledger was a frequent user of heroin and cocaine.
- Ex-Fiancé Michelle Williams tried to take him to rehab in 2006 and he refused.
- Williams tried to get sole custody of the daughter due to his addictions.
- Ledger would go missing for days, and all of a sudden he would show up on the doorstep, an "absolute wreck".
- His friends "saw it (his overdose) coming."
Ledger's death was "accidental" in the same sense as a lethal game of Russian roulette.
Yes, it is tragic. He was a widely praised actor with a promising career, a two year-old daughter, parents and the perks of Hollywood stardom. What is also tragic is that Ledger made a choice to be a father. After becoming one, Ledger made other choices -- the party scene, drugs, and the decision not to seek help for his addictions.
Ledger also made the choice to mix six prescription drugs that night. If the prescription labels or the doctor did not spell out the risk of mixing those exact six drugs, in the exact quantities that Ledger swallowed, is big pharma, the doctor or the FDA to blame? Common sense needs to kick in somewhere.
As inconvenient as the truth may be, Heath Ledger's death falls on the back of personal responsibility.
Mark Loftin is a rare San Francisco species, a conservative.