July 9th, 2009
04:47 PM ET
13 years ago

Drug Czar: Michael Jackson death a 'wake-up call'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske told CNN on Thursday that Michael Jackson's death is a "wake-up call" about prescription drug abuse in America.

"You know, the very sad and untimely loss of Michael Jackson is a wake-up call to the country about prescription drugs," Kerlikowske said in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on 'The Situation Room.' "I really don't know anything more than I have read about this. But if we can save lives and if we can bring to the attention of the people the dangers of prescription drug abuse, I think there is some benefit to this country."

Kerlikowske, who is referred to as the drug czar, said more people die each year from drug overdoses than from gunshot wounds. And he said there are a lot of different problems that contribute to the high fatality numbers. To combat this issue, Kerlikowske said he advocates prescription drug monitoring programs passed by individual states and a media campaign focused on keeping young people off these types of medication.

Filed under: Michael Jackson
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. single mom

    MJ, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Judy Garland, the list goes on.
    It's like cigarettes and alcohol. You can talk about the dangers until you're blue in the face, but people will think it can't happen to them.
    Especially people in the spotlight like actors and athletes who have so many people around them who just want to make money off of them.

    Britney Spears is probably alive right now because her parents were courageous enough to take legal steps to get her away from the 'agent/manager' and that paparazzi bozo.

    July 9, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Mark Sanford, Gov of SC (when I feel like showing up)

    How is someone known to be a serious drug addict for 20-odd years a surprise much less a wake up call? The only surprise is that he didn't die sooner.

    July 9, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Sherrie Eugene, Oregon

    An average person has KNOWN about drug pushing Dr.'s and prescription drug abuse for well over a decade, if not many decades... and it takes Michael Jackson's death for a "wake-up" call? How sad and pathetic! Give us an 800 # to report these drug pushers because I had Dr.'s that would not take NO for an answer and had to start returning all their un-used pill "samples" to them on the next visit! P.S. – It's too hard to find a Dr. that accepts Medicare/Medicaid so finding another doctor isn't an easy alternative!

    So careless and maddening that it takes a "star" to wake such greedy and corrupt systems up in this country!

    July 9, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Um, we've been getting 'wake up calls' for decades. We should have already gotten out of the bed by now...

    July 9, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. SLM

    Wake up call!! What were they doing sleeping? Celebrity overdose is nothing new. This is kind of like when they misread the economy.

    July 9, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Justin

    Wake-up call? No kidding!!! Please go back and count the number of celebrity drug abuse cases in the past year.

    July 9, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. Tim from Ohio

    There is no difference between MJ abusing prescription drugs and George W. Bush abusing alcohol and cocaine in his younger years. Both are wrong.

    July 9, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Tatianna

    If you are a dem politician, you can have a life history of abusing drugs, enter rehab, abuse drugs, enter rehab- repeating the cycle, and still remain a dem politician. Patrick Kennedy is a politician and should hold higher standards over a private citizen radio talk show host like Rush.

    July 9, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  9. ender

    Physicians are already regulated. Many are arrested every year for similar crimes.

    How's this for a "wakeup call"..... Your teens WILL experiment with drugs. Your teens WILL experiment with sex. People WILL die tragically and unexpectedly.

    We are criminalizing EVERYTHING in this supposed land of the free. And what has been the effect? Your teens used to experiment with a few beers and a joint. NOW they experiment with highly addictive presciption drugs and heroin.

    This is the price of the "War on drugs".

    Please PLEASE stop trying to control our every move. The authoritarians who started this drug war back in the Regan era are only making matters worse.

    Many Americans are simply not brave enough to live free.

    July 9, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
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