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White House, Congress weigh in on Whitney Houston’s death

AP photo

AP photo

White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske called Whitney Houston’s death a “teachable moment.”

“Her death is absolutely tragic and this brings attention to the problem that she had talked about in the past and that certainly is prescription drugs,” Kerlikowske said during an interview with CBS News. “It affects a huge number of people in this country and has driven deaths to very, very high numbers – well over 15,000.”

You can view a video clip of the interview here.

Kerlikowske said the administration wants to remove the stigma associated with substance abuse, to encourage recovery.

“I think it is what we might call a teachable moment when someone passes – particularly as someone as highly thought of and such an incredible performer as Whitney Houston,” Kerlikowske said. “We can use this as a moment to help people understand. There are millions of Americans that are suffering from this problem. We can use this as a chance to move forward.”

President Barack Obama has released a statement saying he was praying for Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina, and an official Houston tribute has been entered into the Congressional Record.

The Washington Post reports that U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson, a California Democrat, crafted the following in Houston’s honor:

“Mr. Speaker, where do broken hearts go? Millions of hearts broke at the news that with her passing, we lost one of the greatest gifts of all; the pure joy we felt whenever Whitney sang one of those songs that made us get up and want to dance with somebody. Yes, we almost had it all.”

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

33 comments Add your comment

2012

February 14th, 2012
1:48 pm

ima need congress to just work on passing the budget and not on passing judgment upon houston.

ashton

February 14th, 2012
2:07 pm

it will be an amazing gesture from congress to address this TRIBUTE to Ms. Houston in light of the predominantly all-white members SNUBBED Michael Jackson, upon his tribute being motioned to the floor….

And in the meantime......

February 14th, 2012
2:45 pm

Our country is in a financial crisis…..But that’s OK because they addressed the death of a crack head.

Only in America.

This is a joke, right?

February 14th, 2012
3:40 pm

“President Barack Obama has released a statement saying he was praying for Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina, and an official Houston tribute has been entered into the Congressional Record.”

JH

February 14th, 2012
3:49 pm

It is bad enough that there are fans (aka worshippers) that are upset over a private funeral, but now our own President and so-called polical leaders are weighing in on her death. No wonder the rest of the World takes advantage and laughs at US in our faces. The fancination and obsession with celebrity has got to end!

llw

February 14th, 2012
4:14 pm

ALL OF YOU PEOPLE WITH YOUR NEGATIVE COMMENTS NEED TO GET A LIFE AND SHUT UP. Reguardless of what Whitney Houston did or did not do with her life is none of your business. Stop calling names and passing judgement.You did not live her life, you didnt know her struggles.Stop basing opinions on bits and pieces of what the media says. Its their jobs to tell only the part of the story and you people eat it up. A family is in mourning have some respect. Another life is gone way too soon. Pray for her daughter who lost a mother at a critical time in her life. Pray she doesnt end up in that same choices her parents made. Pray for her mother who has to bury her child. Let the family grieve in PEACE. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU FOR BEING SO INSENSITIVE.

Freedom over BigPharma

February 14th, 2012
4:25 pm

The number of deaths is reported to be more like just over 100.000 hospitalized patients that die from prescription pharmaceuticals (and those are ones that doctors and nurses are administering), and another 100-200,000 overdoses outside of a hospital setting. Many of these deaths are the result of deadly interactions, side effects, etc. and not just accidental overdoses.

Meanwhile the number of folks who die from illegal (not sanctioned by the FDA and the government – and that the pharmaceutical companies make literally trillions of dollars from) is only between 10,000 and 20,000 per year. Marijuana has never been documented to have EVER killed anyone.

Of course BigPharma doesn’t make trillions off so-called illegal drugs. That’s why they are illegal. The government of course makes billions and billions off illegal drugs. The CIA sells them to fund their programs under the table, the police and court system gets billions to fight the failed war on drugs, the prison-industrial complex gets billions to lock away non-violent citizens who are no longer allowed the god-given right to determine what they wish to put into their own bodies, and the drug lords make billions due to the fact that the government created black market drives up the price of what should be very inexpensive drugs and easy to grow “weeds.”

Yes, this is a LEARNING MOMENT – its time to end the War on Drugs, stop trusting BigPharma with our lives and our health, open up the medical system to a truly free market, treat addiction as a medical problem rather than a criminal justice problem, and restore freedom and liberty once again to this country. Along the way, it wouldn’t hurt to remind people that they need to be personally responsible for their choices and their actions (I know that last one will definitely go against the grain of Obama and the current congress).

Only Ron Paul is correct in calling for a complete end to the Federal War on Drugs/American Freedom. Ron Paul 2012.

Joe The Plumber Too

February 14th, 2012
4:43 pm

poor asston, upset because the little pediphile michael jackson was snubbed by Congress. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

meyou

February 14th, 2012
4:49 pm

The drugs company is running the medical profession… Always follow the money and it will lead you to the real problem….. I fully understand that we do have a choice but the question is what chance do we have with the choices that are given……

Freedom over BigPharma

February 14th, 2012
5:20 pm

meyou – you are actually a bit incorrect. We do not have a real choice. The AMA controls how many medical schools there are and how many graduate every year from those schools. The states regulate what education, etc. one must have in order to practise medicine. In that way, they both collude to keep the numbers of physicians low so the cost remains high. Additionally, fully qualified doctors from other countries are effectively barred from practising medicine in this country. Only those drugs that pass FDA muster are allowed to be sold/advertised, etc. BigPharma owns the FDA. There are currently measures underway to ban all vitamins and supplements or create a situation in which only the worthless extracts (bottled and sold by BigPharma of course) would be allowed for sale. The states restrict who can perform what procedures. In many states, even midwives are forbidden to deliver babies (something women have been doing on their own since Eve – well you get the picture. Cannabis, which was the primary ingredient in a huge number of medicines before hemp was effectively banned in 1915, has well-documented medical properties, but rather than just legalizing it again, the FDA is about to approve a BigPharma concoction that will never be as effective as the plant itself.

We do not have a choice, the free market did not give us these choices. Big government in collusion with BigPharma, the AMA, the state legislatures, and dozens more protected groups gave us the crappy medical system we have today.

And what does it get us. Nearly 300,000 deaths per year at the hand of physicians and the protected drug cartel of BigPharma, while a wonderful plant like marijuana is rendered illegal all to protect the big profits of the killers of our society. Way to go america.

Sargon

February 14th, 2012
5:35 pm

@Nasty and Evil Republicans Never Takes a Day Off

Comparing the reaction to the passing of Whitney (a decent person who happened to be an addict who did unto to herself) and that of Michael Jackson’s (a pederast who did unto others) is mean and cruel to Whitney’s memory and beyond low.

Joe The Plumber Too

February 14th, 2012
5:36 pm

hey nasty, you ought to try out for tyler perry’s next movie. He hires idiots disguised as comedians all the time. What’s the matter baby girl, you know that michael wouldn’t have liked you cause you aren’t a little boy and urkle obama wouldn’t like you cause you aren’t a big boy like his me-shell is.

Jennifer Brett

February 14th, 2012
5:45 pm

Hi everyone: I just removed numerous comments that were particularly volatile and vulgar in nature, and have banned that person from commenting further on this blog. A wide range of opinion is fine but let’s stay on-topic and refrain from profane attacks on other posters please.

Jennifer

Joe The Plumber Too

February 14th, 2012
5:55 pm

Sorry Jennifer. I will watch myself as well.

OldTimer

February 14th, 2012
6:21 pm

This is happening all too often. I am not sure what it means. Last year it was Michael and now Whitney. Who’s next?

ABB

February 14th, 2012
6:45 pm

The country is $15 trillion in debt and this moron president is trying to get into the spotlight?

dbc

February 14th, 2012
10:57 pm

ABB. Actually you are. Enjoy your 3 seconds. And you owe me a dollar…

Sad but true

February 14th, 2012
11:26 pm

Drugs kill. Whitney was a very talented performer who let drugs control her life. I saw a small portion of her interview with Monica and could not believe how Whitney rambled on and on about nothing. Monica just sat there motionless and stonefaced. Too bad she could not get her life back after several attempts. This should be a lesson for anyone, entertainer or otherwise, to seek help before it is too late. RIP Whitney. Your beautiful voice lives on…..

The politicians have too much work to do to become involved in celebrity events. Rome is burning while they play!

Justin Boothead

February 15th, 2012
12:52 am

Michael Jackson people forget was accused of being a child molester and settled out of court which looks bad even if he did not commit the crime. I believe this maybe why people shunned him when he died. Whitney was one of the greatest singer of all time however if you play with fire, you will get burned. Your body can only put up with so much abuse but the autopsy will tell us what happened.

KimZ'sPackage

February 15th, 2012
2:32 am

Whitney did NOTHING. She sang songs other people wrote. She was in a bad movie with Costner. She married a bad boy and became a drug addict. She was a pain in the butt to everybody because they were beneath her. Sorry but we didn’t lose a lot with her passing. Her family and friends and drug dealer lost something, but the American public isn’t missing anything special.

CH2

February 15th, 2012
2:44 am

Wow, you guys are sick. Good luck on each of your judgement days. I am sure GOD reads blogs too.

Sandra

February 15th, 2012
7:28 am

It does not have to be a celeberty for all this “negative” talk. This was someone’s mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and etc., just either give your respect/condolences or just don’t say anything. We’ve lost a great voice in the music world, and if you couldn’t hear that when she sung, then you don’t know music. Rest Whitney. They talked about God, they sure will talk about you too.

SB

February 15th, 2012
10:49 am

I hope someone calls the drug czar’s death a teachable moment someday. That jerk had no business commenting in his capacity as a drug czar on anyone’s death, especially as cause of death hasn’t been established, and it’s nothing but speculation to blame prescription drugs. Also, calling someone’s death a teachable moment is so odious and so misses the point of someone’s life, that this jerk should tenured off somewhere.

MB_ENT

February 15th, 2012
11:59 am

AMERICA has become such an UNCARING place to live. When a person dies, whether their a BIG celebrity or a crack head on the streets, we should RESPECT that person, their families, children, etc. Yes WHITNEY along with many more made a BAD choice and paid the price with her life. Those of u who didnt know her personally, which I doubt any of us posting does, can have no clue as to what, when, nor why this happened to her. only GOD knows and he makes no mistakes. We’re all here 4 a purpose I believe and someday u will know yours. I have no problem with the PRESIDENT showing he cares about what will happen to an only child who is left in this mean, cruel world without her mother that LOVED her unconditionally. Obama is human before a title. We must learn to embrace the children in this world and help them anyway we can. WHITNEY was a part of AMERICA, hell she sang the hell outta the national athem at the super bowl and was given a standing ovation. THATS AMERICA from all races…She will NEVER be forgotten, she will be honored, she will still have many dancing to her music, she will always be FAMOUS

lov

February 15th, 2012
1:03 pm

Experience is not what happens to a man, it is what man does with what happens to him.

We all know people who have gone through experiences that should have made them stronger, more interesting, more confident, or more empathetic. Yet somehow they’ve passed through the experiences seemingly unphased. We should see such people as cautionary examples of what happens when we fail to actively engage the world. Our experiences are not going to do anything for us unless we cjoose to do something with our experiences

Phyllis

February 15th, 2012
1:40 pm

Losing a loved one no matter what way they left is a tragic experience. I have experienced it and truly send my sincere condolences to Whitney Houton’s family. This is a time of prayer for those she has left behind. I know what the aftermath of a death does to you. Everyone, please STOP! Stop, please stop talking down about whatever you think you know and let this family get through this. Your comments are hurtful and hateful and her family should not have to deal with this as well as the loss of Whitney. Please, I beg you as a mother that has lost her child, please, if don’t know what to say, just don’t say nothing at all. Let her creator do the judging, not you, remember one day you too will one day have to be judged. RIP Whitney and God please bestore your blessings and send your Comforter to her family. They need you as well as us all during this difficult time.

who cares?!

February 16th, 2012
2:27 pm

I find it amazing that every time a black celebrity dies, everyone wants the spot light. If a white celebrity dies, it is who cares. you see what kind of a joke we have as a white house occupier. what a moron he is.

2012

February 16th, 2012
3:23 pm

@who cares, everyone cares. death and respect do not have a color. get a rainbow brite life. may W H rest in peace.

Hopeful

February 16th, 2012
4:29 pm

Pain does not have a color or any celebrity status, but it is inevitable. We have stooped to a all time low when showing a little bit of sympathy is considered so wrong. Where is the humanity in this world? I should hope it is not lost. Remember this could be anybody’s daughter, mother, cousin, friend don’t be so focused on Whitney being who she was and loose focus on her being human.ijs

Dr.T

February 16th, 2012
7:44 pm

@freedom over big pharma.. Are you bitter because you could not get into the medical industry?
So you know, there’s a MASSIVE shortage of Doctors. Especially primary care. AMA does not decide the number of medical schools. That is American College of Graduate Medical Education. Doctors trained outside U.S. MUST take the EXACT same examines I and other practicing physicians took. Given the dismal state of education in this country, many US students are not prepared for the required drive and knowledge to complete college, medical school, internship and residency. Which by the way is at minimum an additional 12 years after high school. Also you would also know if you researched, that the AMA is working to prevent Congress from decreasing graduate medical education by $60 billion dollars, yes $60 billion, which would not only damages current health care standards but decrease the number of available doctors. Try to educate yourself before making such egregious, obnoxious and deprecatory statements

Dr.T

February 16th, 2012
7:57 pm

@Freedom over big pharma. Once you are selected into medical school the school WORKS HARD to help you graduate. The AMA has no control over a persons ability to pass surgery clerkship, neurology shelf exam, basic sciences shelf exam, Step 1, step 2cs and step 2ck. To name a few of the exams I studied for and successfully passed without being a member of AMA. But, again ignorance is your biggest obstical. As for cannabis: look up the link between cannabis and schizophrenia, cocaine and heart attacks and why cocaine became illegal… Nothing to do with FDA. As for FDA, drugs must past multiple hurdles and complete 3 phases of drug trials including to pivotal phase trials before drugs are approved… I’m just sayin..

Prechar

February 17th, 2012
8:02 pm

Let whomever is without SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE!! JESUS LOVES ME, OH YES HE DOES. for the bible tells me sooooooo DOES HE LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF YOUR NEGATIVENESS??????

Interested Bystander

February 18th, 2012
11:18 pm

It was the entertainment community that mostly helped The President get elected. I believe Whitney had connections in support.