We are saddened to learn that Bobbi Kristina Brown, the only daughter of the late Whitney Houston, has passed away. She was just 22 years old.
Bobbi Kristina’s death came nearly six months after she was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her home earlier this year. She never fully regained consciousness and was kept on life support after her near-drowning.
After all the controversy that followed, we are all left to connect the dots in this very sad family story. Bobbi’s mother, Whitney Houston, died just a little over three years ago under eerily similar circumstances. She was also found unresponsive in a bathtub and it was confirmed through a toxicology report that Whitney died as a result of an accidental drowning, with cocaine use a contributing factor in her death.
While we do not know for sure that Bobbi Kristina’s death comes as a result of substance abuse, and it is too soon for toxicology results, we know that there has been much speculation over the history of addiction in the Houston and Brown families.
Understandably, she was in an enormous amount of emotional pain following her mother’s passing as she expressed through her social media outlets. On top of Whitney’s untimely death, Bobbi Kristina had grown up in a family where both parents battled severe substance use disorders. This alone can be incredibly traumatic for a child and increases their risk of developing a mental health or substance use disorder as adolescents.
Drug and alcohol addiction, which has killed or damaged tens of thousands of Americans in every walk of life, typically starts in adolescence. Ninety percent of addictions begin in the teenage years, and 11 million American teens and young adults between the ages of 12 and 29 currently need treatment for substance abuse.
But families can do something. We can begin by educating ourselves about the dangers of substance abuse and how to prevent it. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has extensive information on the abuse of all types of drugs on our website, drugfree.org. Take what you learn and talk with your kids. Our research shows that children who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are significantly less likely to use than kids who do not get that critical message at home.
The death of Bobby Kristina is a “teachable moment” for parents to start that conversation with their kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. And if parents don’t know what to say or where to start, we have parent support specialists who can help on our toll-free helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE. It’s important to talk early and talk often with your kids to help prevent more tragedies in families from happening.
Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO