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.”
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 Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org