U.N. Drug Panel Takes Time From Its Busy Schedule To Yell At Amy Winehouse

Sort of! The International Narcotics Board states, in its yearly report, that celebrities should be getting harsher sentences and more appropriate prosecution in general for their myriad drug offenses. Well, duh. In addition to more far-reaching topics like painkiller shortages for the indigent and the opium fields of Afghanistan, the INCB condemns the handling of celebrity drug culture as far too lenient and dangerously misrepresenting the seriousness of druggery to the world's wide-eyed, "cult of celebrity" obsessed youth. The report doesn't actually do anything fun or exciting like name names in particular. (This is probably just because everyone is so sick of typing, seeing, reading, or thinking about defiantly anti-rehab singer Amy Winehouse's name. Sorry.)

I guess this is notable because it's a big, international commission stooping down to recognize odd little modern trends that us wee people are enthralled with. But will it be effective? Don't we already know we're fucked up by celebrities (while simultaneously fucking them up) and do nothing about it? What will this rehashing of information prove to do except reinforce an already widely held belief that celebrities should be locked up for long periods of time? I mean, no one (except celebrities, judges, and celebrity judges) argues with that, right? [NYT] Below, a key excerpt from the report.

While highlighting the need to provide alternatives to imprisonment for drug users, including access to treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, the Board urges Governments to pay adequate attention to high profile cases of drug abuse. Celebrity "endorsement" of drug-related lifestyles is particularly relevant when it comes to the issue of deterring drug use among youth, who are often most vulnerable to the cult of celebrity and its attendant glamour. The fact is that when a celebrity uses drugs, he or she breaks he law, states the report. Young people are quick to pickup on and react to perceived leniency in dealing with such offenders. This raises questions about the fairness of the justice system and could undermine wider social efforts at reducing the demand for drugs. The same is true for higher level drug offenders. The Report notes the wide differences between countries and regions when it comes to tolerance towards drug-related offenses and offenders. Penalties for similar offenses may seem severe in some
places, but lenient in others.