All the media attention to substance abuse problems of celebrities like Lndsay Lohan and Nicole Ritchie is trivializing the larger problem of female addiction in the U.S., says Women’s eNews commentator Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich. She says the the tortured, glorified, and over-dramatized celebrity victims live a world apart from thousands–maybe millions; no one knows exactly–of ordinary, demoralized, cast-off women who struggle, from one day to the next, trying to recover their lives from drug and alcohol abuse.
The average abuse victim is impoverished, unemployed, unskilled, and destitute. No paparazzi chase blond Ava, 19, as she staggers from a crack house after a four or five-day binge. That’s a good thing because Ava looks like hell and smells worse, says Scruggs-Leftwich. She is dirty, battered and bruised. She has lost her struggle with the drug-crack-dope-alcohol habit again. She is penniless. She paid for her drugs with bartered goods, often stolen, or with her battered body. Pedestrians hardly notice that paramedics once again are scraping Tracey, a 30-year-old black woman, off the pavement at the edge of a public park near downtown. She has been lying there since early morning, apparently asleep, when in fact she has overdosed on methamphetamine. She will be revived in the emergency room (or maybe not, this time) and then placed in a locked-down detoxification ward for several days. She will be discharged wearing the same clothing in which she arrived, still homeless.