Actor Serves As A Warning 

Actor Serves As A Warning 
Posted by FoM on August 11, 1999 at 10:28:29 PT
Source: San Antonio Express 
Those who don't recognize how addictive drugs can destroy a person's life should take a look at the case of actor Robert Downey Jr.
Downey was a talented Hollywood star whose career was soaring until his drug habit led him to repeated crash landings.In 1996, he was arrested for possession of heroin, cocaine and a pistol. He was given probation.Then he was found passed out in a neighbor's house and sent to a recovery center. He was nailed again for leaving the recovery center and got more probation.This summer, Downey admitted that he was using drugs again while on probation.The judge had no choice but to send the junkie actor to prison. How many chances can one drug addict expect to get?Downey's situation offers grim evidence of the reckless self-destruction spawned by drug addiction. His behavior is impossible to defend and almost impossible to believe.Anyone who plays with hard drugs risks a similar loss of control, and it isn't a pretty sight.Tuesday, Aug 10,1999 1999 San Antonio Express-NewsFree Robert Downey Jr. - August 10, 1999
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 11, 1999 at 14:20:14 PT
Sympathy? No. But Pity? Yes
Pubdate: Fri, 6 Aug 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times. Contact: letters Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: Forum: Author: Mike Downey Note:Mike Downey's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. SYMPATHY? NO. BUT PITY? YESOn Thursday morning around 9, Robert Shapiro, the lawyer, met privately with his client, Robert Downey Jr., the actor, in a lockup at the Malibu municipal courthouse. "You look good," Shapiro told him. "You got some sun." "Yeah, I got out in the field a little," Downey said.  Back in jail since June, doing time for a probation violation, Downey had once again been transported to Malibu to stand--penitent, in an orange jail jumpsuit--in front of Judge Lawrence Mira, who has been dealing with this same in-and-out defendant for more than three years.  Downey is a drug addict. He's been hooked since childhood. Having broken the law, he fits a lawbook definition of a criminal. On the other hand, he didn't sell drugs, didn't assault anybody, did nothing after his misdemeanor arrest on June 23, 1996, but fail to kick his own drug habit.  And fail. And fail. He is sick. He's got it bad, as bad as it gets. "It's like I've got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger," he said luridly Thursday in open court, "and I like the taste of the gun metal." Downey made a plea to stay in a drug program run by the Sheriff's Department. Then he added to Mira: "I feel whatever decision you make will be the right one." The judge sentenced him to three years in prison.  It was a decision the actor's lawyer still couldn't fathom, a few hours later over the phone.  "This is just inhumane," Shapiro said, "on every level." A director once came to Kate Mantilini's restaurant in Beverly Hills to discuss a film with Robert Downey Jr., only to find him at the bar, shoeless, carrying a small purse with a gun protruding from it.  This is no model citizen. When originally arrested, Downey was driving a truck down Pacific Coast Highway, speeding. He had drugs in the car and a .357 magnum under the seat, the bullets in the glove compartment.  Sympathy is something he doesn't receive, crave or deserve. Pity wouldn't be uncalled for, though. A care center is where Downey belongs, not a state pen. One can understand why Mira would tire of the actor's drug slip-ups and rehab breakouts. Just don't send the ill to jail. "Is there a question," the judge asked rhetorically, "that if this defendant continues to use drugs, we're going to read his name in an obituary? Or see his name in some story about a horrible accident. Let's not forget why he was originally arrested." Let's not. However, at that point Downey was a first-time offender, later sentenced to probation as such.  His crime ever since has been his inability to get sober. He misses sessions. He skips rehab, once climbing out a window of the Exodus Recovery center in Marina del Rey in a tropical shirt and hospital pants.  "Robert Downey is a sick, drug addicted individual who has a disease, as bad as it can be had," Shapiro says. "Most times he's been a model patient. He did all the work sessions. He even did janitorial duties. But he has a relapse now and then, which he freely admits to the judge.  "Then today we walk into court to that judge, whose feeling is: 'I promised you jail, so I'm sending you to jail.' " To learn a lesson, perhaps? "There's no lesson to be taught!" Shapiro replies. "Beyond trying to warehouse all people with problems? Right now, Robert is back in the regular County Jail, with criminals around him, the most dangerous of the dangerous. Does he deserve THAT? I begged the judge, 'At least let him finish the program. What harm would that do?' But he wouldn't budge.  "The judge misused his discretion." Downey, 34, will have to do at least a year, maybe more. For being sick.  Those who admire Downey's work, including this writer--no relation--dread seeing his downward spiral. Jodie Foster wrote to him. Sean Penn staged an intervention, knocking down Downey's door and practically dragging him to drug rehab.  He's been on smack, mushrooms, you name it, since Santa Monica High and before. He admits it. Long before he made the movie "Less Than Zero," his own life was that. His weight once got so low, Downey said, "Not only was I at zero body fat, I was starting to get down to zero muscle mass. Then it would have been zero bone mass. And then what? A strong wind and . . . pixie dust." He is almost there. And he won't get any better where he's going. 
Sympathy? No. But Pity? Yes
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 11, 1999 at 12:58:06 PT
My Comment
Robert Downey Jr. needs help but not jail. He is an addict but not a criminal. We must stop jailing sick people. We need good re-hab services not more jails.
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Comment #1 posted by Rick James on August 11, 1999 at 11:48:35 PT
Downey's injustice
All the problems he has had with the law are a result of the law not his drug use. If the police had not origionaly cought him he would probably still be making and paying taxes on his multimillion dollar salary, making us all happy from his movies and he would be free to fund his own drug treatment in whatever way he choses. Being a danger to yourself is not a crime and never should be.
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