What Can We Learn From Cory Monteith’s Death?

The world was shocked by the death of Cory Monteith, the 31-year-old star of Glee who was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room on Saturday.

As we await the results of the autopsy, the question remains as to whether the pressures of Hollywood claimed yet another young star too soon.

In a 2011 interview with Parade, Cory discussed his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, revealing that by age 13, he was skipping school to get drunk and smoke marijuana. By the time he was 16, his drug use was “out of control.”

“Anything and everything, as much as possible,” he admitted. “I had a serious problem.”

At the time of the interview, the singer-actor said he felt strong enough to resist any temptations that Hollywood provided.

“I think that I can’t completely rule out any of that happening, but I can’t unlive the life I’ve lived,” Cory shared. “I can’t unlearn what I’ve learned either. I feel like I have a safeguard in a way. I feel like I’m kind of Hollywood-proof. Considering everything I’ve gone through, I feel like I’ve already been there and done that lifestyle to the nth degree. It’s not interesting to me anymore. What’s interesting to me is chasing my endeavors and seeing where this all goes and exploring opportunities. All the other stuff—it doesn’t have the same shine.

He added: “I really got to know myself through a lot of that self-destruction. I had to go very deep into myself and rebuild a lot of what I had taken apart, and that process is strengthening, that process is grounding. That doesn’t go away. That’s the foundation this is all built on now, and I feel stable. I feel happy. I like myself. I love my job. It just so happens that I fell into doing something that I enjoy—the drums and the music and acting and all that stuff. I love it. I love it a lot.”

Unbelievably tragic! Cory seemed like such a nice guy — and he was so very talented. It sounds like his addiction caught hold and cost him his life.

How can we learn from this tragedy? How can we talk to our kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse?

Just as you protect your kids against illnesses like measles, you can help ‘immunize’ them against drug use by giving them the facts before they’re in a risky situation.

Experts suggest that the conversations should begin as early as the preschool years.

“Start taking advantage of ‘teachable moments’ now,” Kids Health advises. “If you see a character on a billboard or on TV with a cigarette, talk about smoking, nicotine addiction, and what smoking does to a person’s body. This can lead into a discussion about other drugs and how they can potentially cause harm.”

Between the ages of 8 to 12, it is appropriate to keep the communication open, and nonjudgmental.

“As your kids grow older, you can begin conversations with them by asking them what they think about drugs,” experts say. “By asking the questions in a nonjudgmental, open-ended way, you’re more likely to get an honest response.”

And once your kids hit 13 to 17, they “are likely to know other kids who use alcohol or drugs, and to have friends who drive. Many are still willing to express their thoughts or concerns with parents about it.”

How do you talk to your kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse?

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