Having grown up outside of Detroit, Berry Gordy and Hitsville, U.S.A., aka Motown Records, plays the core beat in the soundtrack of my younger life, and still to this day. The Jackson 5’s hits are woven into that musical quilt, and Michael Jackson’s work with Quincy Jones even more: in particular, Off the Wall and Thriller.
This brilliant force in our lives had much to teach us in life: Be a lifelong learner, and grow every day in your craft – whatever that might be. Reach beyond your grasp. Delight in what you do for a living. Give to the causes you believe in.
His death can give us lessons, as well, about health.
Dr. Deepak Chopra, a trained cardiologist and integrative medicine guru, told CNN talking heads on the day after Michael died this longtime friend came to the doctor in 2005 asking for a prescription for narcotics.
It was then that Dr. Chopra realized that his young friend was wrestling with prescription drug addiction. Dr. Chopra said to CNN, “There’s a plethora of doctors in Hollywood that are drug peddlers, they are drug pushers….They just happen to have a medical license.”

He spoke of Hollywood’s, “huge problem with celebrity doctors who not only initiate people into the drug experience but then they perpetuate it so that people become dependent on them. I think this is something that really should be investigated because it’s a disease.”

Dr. Chopra called prescription drug addiction, “the number-one cause of drug addiction in the world, and particularly in the United States.” Not street drugs, Dr. Chopra has observed, but medical prescriptions given legally by physicians.

In a bittersweet eulogy to her ex-husband, Lisa Marie Presley spoke on her MySpace blog of Michael’s concerns about dying like her father, Elvis.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Since Michael’s death, which occurred on my birthday, I’ve been wrestling with what we can learn from this tragedy. We lose yet another young, creative spirit to what could turn out to be a preventable cause.Last night, we watched La Vie en Rose, the life story of Edith Piaf. This just happened to be one of the 3 DVDs that Netflix sent us this week. The timing was ironic; Edith received shots and consumed innumerable cocktails of drugs throughout her life, snuffed too-early like Michael’s and Judy’s and Elvis’s and Heath’s and countless other creative spirits.

“Years ago Michael and I were having a deep conversation about life in general. I can’t recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my Father’s Death. At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, ‘I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.’ I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.”

It really does take a village when it comes to health. Enablers and sycophants: be gone.

All I can say is: We Are The World.