Lamar Odom Isn’t the Only Overdose We Should Care About

by Diane Dimond on October 26, 2015

Countless Overdoses Nationwide Every Day

Countless Overdoses Nationwide Every Day

Can I just vent this week? Please? Thank you.

I am a sympathetic person, really I am. But the excessive and fawning news coverage of former NBA player Lamar Odom’s illegal drug use and self-imposed near death experience has been disgusting. To say the coverage has been excessive and out of proportion to its value as a news story is an understatement.

If this guy hadn’t played professional basketball or married into the camera-craving Kardashian clan we never would have heard about his recent medical emergency … and heard every minute detail about it.

Odom Has A History of Chances and Overdoses

Why Isn’t Odom Charged With Drug Crimes?

Every single day – in cities across the nation — there are countless thousands of troubled people who succumb to illegal and prescription drug overdoses. People who live in despair and, oftentimes, poverty with no hope of change. Maybe it was their hopelessness that led them to poison their own bodies or maybe they had a negligent childhood or one scarred with death or sexual abuse. We never hear about their backstories. Don’t these people count?

We rarely hear about those brave men and women of our military who come home psychically damaged after dodging bullets in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and turn to drugs to quiet their minds. There aren’t enough government programs for these heroes, and the sad fact is, they often don’t seek treatment for fear it could damage their long-term goals. Don’t the troubles of these folks deserve some coverage?

Oh, you might hear occasional news about a former addict who found a way to break the cycle of treating their pain with illegal drugs. Maybe they went on to start a program to help others. But those news items are few and far between and nothing like the blow-by blow recitation of the Lamar Odom story.

The Scene of Odom's Death Wish

The Scene of Odom’s Death Wish – Nevada

The non-stop details have been ugly.  After years of reports about his infidelity and drug use Odom was found unconscious and foaming at the mouth in a brothel in Crystal, Nevada. He had, reportedly, spent more than 75 thousand dollars for a four day stay. Prostitutes, lots of booze and various kinds of drugs including cocaine were apparently part of his excellent weekend adventure.

The 6’ 10” Odom was too tall to fit into a medevac helicopter so he was driven to a hospital in Las Vegas where, reports say, he was put into a medically induced coma. Brain damage was mentioned. Khloe Kardashian, the wife who filed for divorce a couple years ago was suddenly back at his side, paparazzi followed because, of course, that’s what happens when a reality-TV family has a crisis.

TV newscasts, front page stories in major newspapers and magazines galore have written sympathetic stories about Lamar Odom. Poor guy. His mom died early, his dad was a heroin addict. His 6-month-old son with a common law wife died of sudden infant death syndrome. His cousin was murdered and just this past June his best friend died of a heroin induced infection from dirty needles.

MIlitary Overdoses Deserve Most Sympathy

MIlitary Overdoses Deserve Most Sympathy

Forgive me if I don’t bow down to the Altar of Odom. This man has certainly had some tragedy in his life (who hasn’t?) but he’s been given lots opportunities. Check his history you’ll see what I mean. Despite poor grades and an NCAA investigation into his suddenly improved marks (Odom refused to cooperate with investigators) he, somehow, got into college. He made the NBA but was suspended by the league – twice – for his marijuana use. There have been DUI arrests and other offenses that spit in the face of the chances he was handed.

Certainly, Odom had a much more charmed life than all the others who overdosed on the same day. I’m betting none of them had $75,000 to blow on hookers and cocaine.

Don’t mistake what I say to mean that I don’t feel for Lamar Odom. I feel for him like I would for every other fellow human being whose suffering drives them to be dangerously reckless with their life.  I only question why there has been so much coverage of his case and so little said about all the others.

Life isn’t fair – that’s for sure – but good journalism should be.

 

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

ABQ Journal Reader Ruth Cooke writes:

“Hello Diane,

I just wanted to send a brief note saying “Thank You” for your article entitled, “Do only celebrities deserve attention?” You are SPOT ON!!! You said everything that I’ve always thought about too much attention on the actions of celebrities and nothing usually said or printed about the everyday “hero’s or non-hero’s” sufferings. Most suffer in silence, ignoring self and going about their daily lives trying to make things better for others. But the selfish, arrogant, usually ultra-rich ones who couldn’t care less for other people are the ones that are heralded in the news for the purpose of selling newspapers and magazines.

You are a breathe of fresh air in shining light on the truth in today’s world. Again, thank you!”

Sincerely,
Ruth Cooke

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

ABQ Journal Reader Chris writes:

“Dear Diane,

Thank you for “venting” about Lamar Odom in your op-ed Do only celebrities deserve attention? – Thank you, Thank you!

I thought the same thing. Especially how our military does not get the attention they deserve when they are hurt or killed and they give all this coverage to a drug addict who overdosed in a whorehouse!”

Chris

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:42 am

ABQ Journal Reader Dar Brady writes:

“I agree completely with your column about the excessive media coverage of the drug related medical emergency occurring at the Nevada ‘ranch’. Too much information about a non-important celebrity and his related media craving family.

Beyond what you stated about the monetary cost of this weekend, I would like to vent a little as well. The $75k that was spent was more than most people earn in a year. Folks who work hard to feed, clothe and house their families.

Such a selfish expense that would have gone so much further had it been donated to a food pantry, a women’s shelter, to the homeless. Had he done that, then any resultant publicity would have been worthwhile.

Whew! I feel much better now. Thanks for letting me vent some, too.”

Dar Brady
Corrales, NM

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:43 am

ABQ Journal Reader Ray Berry writes:

“Diane,

I don’t read your column in the ABQ Journal very often but todays Oct. 25th headline caught my eye about celebrities, i.e. Lama Odom.

And I must say—thank you—thank you–thank you.

Way too much coverage on Mr. Odom criminal actives at the brothel, glad he got caught, so what, I don’t care. Glad you brought up his past history to the public, what is it they say, two wrongs don’t make a right, or is it the other way around…..in my 78+ years of life I forget some things….ha

There are so many good people and stories that a better balance of journalism would make.

We need more about our brave men and women in the military. The police officers and firemen that put their lives on the line every day for us, they are the ones that are suffering, even the boy scouts have better stories than Mr. Odom.

Again, thanks and I will pay more attention to your column from now on.

Ray Berry
Albuquerque, NM.

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:44 am

ABQ Journal Reader anonymous writes:

“Diane,

Thank you for your venting! What will it take for anything related to the Kardashians to just go away forever?!

As a mother of a son currently in rehab, I can attest to how ugly, sad, and shocking at some of the behind the scenes of those providing drugs can be. My son was raised in a two parent, middle class home, and given everything a child could want. Was that our mistake….? I will forever wonder if something we did led him to drugs. Of course we live in Albuquerque, which has its share of drug problems to be sure.

Our son was drawn to Los Angeles following High School, and has lived there for 6 years. Little by little, the sordid life of drugs sucked more and more of what he was out of him. After many, many stressful conversations over the years, emergencies, and hopefully hitting his rock bottom, he finally admitted himself to a rehab facility in Southern, CA last month, and as of a couple of days ago, moved into an out patient facility. He was only able to do this because he is still on our medical insurance, and we can afford the deductible and co-payments. I am assuming having medical insurance and being able to afford any deductible or co-payment is a rarity for drug addicts or those in desperate need of help, and I can’t stop thinking of those that have lost their lives both literally and figuratively to drugs. They cannot buy food, or maintain living quarters, as eventually all of their money is going toward the drugs.

I was shocked when our son told us that over the years, a ‘therapist’ he was seeing was prescribing him approx. 150 pills per month of Oxycotin and who knows what else. My son would pharmacy shop for a place that would actually fill such an obscene prescription, and then my son would in turn have someone that would purchase a portion of the prescription from him. He was some sort of middle man. Granted, he was probably high during all of this, so who knows who these people really are….but suffice it to say that most pharmacies would not fill whatever prescriptions he had.

I don’t know the answer, and I pray that my son will be able to turn his life around, but in the meantime there are thousands of others just like him that do not have a support system. In the meantime, losers like the Kardashians and others make their multi millions parading around with their artificial bodies for the cameras, with no jobs, and being plastered in our faces everywhere. And the media is as guilty.
I hope that some day, society will recognize what is important, what matters, and the media and those with the financial means will focus on how we can help those truly in need……… Enough of our TMZ culture!

Sincerely,
XXXXXX XXXXXXXX

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:47 am

ABQ Journal Reader Joe Stehling writes:

“Diane,
Thanx for putting into words what I have been thinking on Celebrities Deserving Attention in the Albuquerque Journal, 24 October. I have never understood why the media gives publicity to bad behavior. Ignoring that and the likes of Al Sharpton, could cause them to just go away.”

Joe Stehling
Angel Fire, NM

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:42 am

Facebook Friend Shirley Pacheco writes:

“Could not agree more !”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:43 am

Facebook Friend Alan Fountain writes:

“Alan Fountain BRAVA DIANE! Powerful empathy and truth …. I like it when you Vent!! More More More!”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:43 am

Facebook Friend Donna Hayes writes:

“Well amen to that !!!!!!”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:44 am

Facebook Friend Seriously Annie writes:

“Seriously Annie This is great. When I said the same thing, Lilsarg said I should have boundless empathy for Lamar. I don’t. He walked into a brothel not detox, and he might still not want to get clean. For all we know, this is not the first time this has happened. Moreover, anyone with experience dealing with addicts would tell every enabler who cares for Lamar and wants him to live to steer clear, no communication, no sunlight until Lamar has been clean for a while. Believe me, I do have empathy; I tweet all the time about homeless addicts in Boston, many of whom want help but can’t find it in a hospital let alone a brothel. Those people I feel sorry for.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:45 am

Facebook Friend Joya Colucci Lord writes:

“Lord, Diane, you are brilliant. I could not have said it better.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:46 am

Facebook Friend Lisa Wolfe writes:

“Amen sister!! i agree 100%!!!”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:47 am

Well, Thanks, Lisa – and all the others that agree with the sentiment in this column.
But I’d like to hear from others who think differently.
Was I too harsh on Mr. Odom? Does a repeat drug offender/over-doser deserve continued sympathy? I’m interested in opposing viewpoints. ~DD

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:48 am

Facebook Friend Julie L. Pendley writes:

“Wow – 75,000$ a day – that’s a serious appetite for destruction. dang. wow.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:48 am

Facebook Friend Georgia Butler McCallister writes:

“You are so right . And drug addicts ruin lives , steal , lie and all need to be accountable for their actions !”

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Elisha galik October 29, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Yes they do ruin lives but first and foremost they ruin there life. People around them can walk away like the other person said but if you talk to any drug adicit they dont care if they live or die because there life is that bad. I know from experience been clean now for 12 years that you dont know what happened to them to start the destructive behavior. Mine my father pressured me to do drugs with him when he got out of jail i was 13 years old and all i wanted was his approval since he was out of my life for that long he went in when i was 18 months old. So we all have baggage some of us way more than others so it gives you no right to judge people with addiction problems its a gentic predisposition that we dont ask for when we are born. Thats why its classified as an actual disease not an illness. So dont throw stones when you yourself lives in a glass house because i am sure you have skeletons in your closet you dont want known but us addicts who ruin peoples lives know what we have done and live with it everyday. You have no clue how hard it is to become clean and stay it so you have no right to judge. Every person deserves a chance to become clean and its sad that theres people like you out there who makes them feel worse then they already do. Dont you think these people want help but cant get it and alot have no support system and have to do it alone knowing when there done they are going to be alone anyway just that pain can stop them so no you dont cut them out of your life you just dont enable them because they need the support i know i was there and yes i almost died as well. People need to help these poor people not turn there backs on them because i can promise you, you will never see a happy addict because they dont exist they dont want to be like they are but they have nowhere to turn. Sincerely, reality check

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

Twitter Pal StewartCherie writes:

“@DiDimond Why was this on National news? I refuse to read anything about these ppl. They’re an embarrassment.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

Facebook Friend Ronnie Kaminski Latimer writes:

“Thanks Diane for saying what many of us are thinking!”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

Facebook Friend Claudia Reid writes:

“Diane because your safe when your hooked up with the Royal Family Kardashians. Look at Kanye West career he is done. But because he has Kim…he is safe.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 11:27 am

Facebook Friend Lyn Novosel writes:

“Good points Diane. Why does he get preferential treatment?”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Facebook Friend Kyla Thompson writes:

“Bingo. So glad you’re using your forum for this. Spending days in a whore house, snorting coke off a hooker’s ass, then a love story of his Kardashian wife standing by him? Our bottom line on disgust is a mystery to me.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Facebook Friend Pat Kelley Wittorf writes:

“Definitely on point, as usual, Diane, as far as addicts goes, but … color me naive but I thought all he’d taken was an “herbal Viagra”.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Facebook Friend Vickie Bohannon writes:

“Agree he’s done it to himself, well put!”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Facebook Friend Tammy Larimer writes:

“uggggggg! sickening! I’m with you Diane! xo”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Facebook Friend Joey Esparza writes:

“Totally agree… !!!”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Facebook Friend Valerie Kuhn writes:

“This man should believe in miracles because he sure got one. From the condition he was in he shouldn’t be alive. What an ass to do what he did. He is one lucky SOB as far as I’m concerned.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Facebook Friend Bill Voinovich writes:

” TWO REASONS….
1……KARDASHIAN RELATED…
2……Money TALKS, bull$hit WALKS…..
I’ll bet the farm that he’s in the OBITS within six months…..”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Twitter Pal swimmomjj writes:

“@DiDimond Arresting Odom is appropriate, because he broke the law and at the same time, could save his life. Too much money/too many yes men.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Twitter Pal Show daisytl writes:

“@DiDimond $$$$$”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Twitter Pal CindyDailey writes:

“@DiDimond Because the K family is blaming the prostitutes!!!”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Twitter Pal MarissaMeleske writes:

“@DiDimond he needs intense rehab. My addict brother was in and out of jail. Didn’t help. #LamarOdom”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Twitter pal Wintress writes:

“@DiDimond jail time is the least of his worries”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Twitter Pal Laylaisalive writes:

“@DiDimond I agree! Finally a journalist who doesn’t glorify his poor choices.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:55 pm

Twitter Pal Lilli42161 writes:

“@DiDimond these K people run the media. it’s sickening.and I think you should at least be a woman for a year before being woman of the year.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Twitter Pal DebsKeeler writes:

“@DiDimond who did Odom hurt?”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Odom hurt every other addict out there who is now tainted by his actions. Now, thanks to Odom, only the celebrities get the attention, and the help they need. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Twitter Pal KHShan writes;

“@DiDimond I was always told to never look down my nose at anyone or their problems.Never know when it may be someone we love.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:01 pm

@KHShan That’s right. And we should never forget ALL the people who need help beating addiction – not just the celebrities. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Twitter Pal ljohnson2006 writes:

“@DiDimond If “Normal” addicts got the attention #LamarOdom is getting.. Maybe the problem wouldn’t be as prevalent. It’s not just celebs.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Facebook Friend Mark Ebner writes:

“There’s a lot of protectionism in and around the NBA Diane Dimond. Remind you of another town?”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:40 pm

Ummm, Hollywood? ~ DD

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:40 pm

Facebook Friend Les Coleman writes:

“What does one get from $75k worth of whores? What would women do for that cheda? // Take on the denver broncos ?”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:43 pm

Facebook Friend Patti Petow writes:

“As long as “reality show” media prevails 24/7, this is the kind of headline that will dominate. Comes a point when one must turn off the TV and computer and make an appointment for a REAL reality check.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:43 pm

Facebook Friend Daniel Thomas Moran writes:

“His life has become a bizarre form of entertainment and so this is just an episode. Regular people who do what he did are bad people. Celebrities who do what he did are…celebrities. As you so well reported on some 20 years back, celebrities can slaughter people and we will still love and forgive them.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Facebook Friend April Davis PI writes:

“You always know exactly how to put into words what I’ve been thinking. I wish him well but what’s going to happen when he needs a kidney? There are many people who are not addicts suffering needing a transplant. I bet he’ll get put on the top of the list because of his celebrity. Even though I wish him well, you can’t forget he did this to himself. We’ve all had trauma in our lives but you have to try to keep your chin up. Life sucks sometimes. Great piece Diane.”

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Diane Dimond October 26, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Facebook Friend Mari Cartel writes:

“We have strange heroes these days. Pathetic!”

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