• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 3:56am
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Fame is no excuse for taking drugs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 5:05am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 9:01am

The special treatment and adulation that celebrities receive can be highly addictive. But fame can also lead to drug addiction, which is why stars of stage, screen and the written word are being targeted in a nation-wide crackdown on abusers. Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan's son, Jaycee, and Taiwanese actor Ko Chen-tung are the latest to be arrested, sending a clear message to fans and the general populace alike that no matter who is involved, there is zero tolerance. It is a creative way to deal with an aspect of a worsening problem.

President Xi Jinping declared a war on drugs in June for good reason: China has more than 2.5 million addicts, 75 per cent under the age of 35. Growing affluence has fuelled demand, leading to inevitable social and economic costs for the nation. The consequences are deaths from overdoses, illness, domestic violence, crime, traffic accidents, lost opportunities and reduced productivity. Strict measures implemented against use, trafficking and manufacturing of illegal substances, particularly synthetic drugs like methamphetamines, are understandable.

Celebrities, as role models, can help curb drug use. Ko was involved in an anti-drug campaign in 2012. But too often, the pressure of their jobs can also lead to abuse and addiction. Jaycee Chan - better known as Jaycee Fong Cho-ming - and Ko join a growing list of performers who are among the tens of thousands of people apprehended, charged or sentenced for drug offences so far this year.

We have a double standard when it comes to celebrities: they are counted on for entertainment, gossip included, but we also hold them to high moral standards. Technology has given us easy access to their lives and all it takes is a click or two to know where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. That means they can be immensely influential, especially to impressionable young people. Like it or not, as the mainland battles the scourge of drugs, actors, singers and authors have an obligation to steer clear of illegal substances.

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This article is now closed to comments

martinturner
I quote, "taking drugs … prison … caught with drugs … drug addiction … abusers … zero tolerance … war on drugs … addicts … overdoses, illness, domestic violence, crime, traffic accidents … illegal substances … synthetic drugs like methamphetamines … drug use … abuse and addiction … drug offences … the scourge of drugs … illegal substances."
Not once does this sad, simplistic, outdated piece of propaganda identify the topic as merely marijuana, or mention the current transformation, globally, in the legal status and classification of 'drugs', based on years of studies that show a huge and unnecessary net negative effect from rigid and undifferentiated prohibitive policies.
mercedes2233
The editorial is full of holes. Jaycee is not a celebrity in his own right, otherwise the press would not need to say in every article who his parent is. He does not therefore illustrate the link between fame and drugs. And there are zillions of drug takers all over the world who are not famous, including young people in school and university campuses. And there are lots of famous people including scientists who do not use drugs.
I also don't agree that we hold entertainers to 'high moral standards'. You must be joking. Gossip columns and magazines sell because of tales of entertainers behaving very badly, and we salivate over the next disgusting development. And we are used to stories of drug-fueled deaths of high-profile people like Whitney Houston, Peaches Geldorf (with a famous parent), and we snigger over Elizabeth Taylor's eight marriages, so, no, we don't hold them to any kind of standard.
Are you having a very bad day?
dead2k1
This reads like a government propaganda piece.....few facts, many factual sounding assertions.
nmp_inc
The War on Drugs in China will probably work as well as it has in the US or elsewhere. In other words, not at all but will empower and enrich the police state.
There is no 'example' here especially when its likely the punishment for these two will not be the same as an ordinary person. This just makes a farce of catching Tigers and Flies campaign. No doubt his dad's prominent role and service as a CPPCC frontman will factor in. Sort of like this editorial which seems more an anti-corruption propaganda piece than anything.
sjfore
Oh, for godsake. It's just weed. Is there any evidence that Fong and Ko are chronically impaired? Jaycee's a terrible actor, but I doubt that his drug use is a causal factor.
HK is way behind the curve in a few ways here. This reefer madness hysteria is such a time warp, and can we please get past this idea of celebs as role models? (And Jaycee Chan is a celebrity? D list at best.)
gunzy
Mr Editor, I think the drugs you are taking is clouding your sense of clarity, maybe you should smoke some weed and just chill out.
.
These are stats from the States ****www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Causes_of_Death#sthash.LoXsFJbs.dpbs and if you look at the number of deaths from Cannabis, it amounted to 0. If you dig deeper and look at the number of drug related deaths out of 40,000 deaths, 17,000 are related to illegal drugs, while the remainder are from legal drugs.
.
I guess lying is a part of your job now.
blue
Another inane article from the SCMP. Cannabis is harmless and should be legalized for medical use like it is in several US states. In Colorado and other US states, it's even legal for recreational use.

Alcohol is more harmful than cannabis, but nobody is ordering a crackdown on alcohol.
mikecheung99@gmail.com
Really SCMP?! It was just weed!
If this was Saudi Arabia, I'd get it.... but an English paper in supposedly free-thinking Hong Kong? You should be ashamed.
Cannabis has been decriminalized in Colorado and Washington and there are now thriving marijuana industries taking shape. Your ignorance is astounding.
Zerung
Forget the US. In many ways they are as backward as you could find anywhere else.
HK has more stricter laws on cigarettes than the US.
tennis9090
This is another great article from supposedly HK's only English newspaper that highlights just how naive and uninformed some folks are when it comes to drugs. Their cavemen sense of morality is pathetic. I bet Mr. Editor here never inhaled either. Well if you did, you'd be so much better!

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