There are a few things, in my opinion, which should not be done at any age, and there are a few people, lately, who have proved it. Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Judy Garland, Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe, Chris Farley, John Belushi, River Pheonix, and now the late Britney Murphy all died in their 20's and 30's (with the exception of Judy Garland who died at age 47) due to drug and alcohol abuse and overdose. These were all very talented people and I'm sure we would have enjoyed watching them live out their lives and careers for longer than a short 20-30 years.
Drug and Alcohol abuse and overdose, however does not only stick with people of 'celebrity' status. This tragedy can hit very close to home. There is a line from, in my opinion, a great movie "28 days", which says - you never know if this hit will be your last, or if this will be the day you overdose. So goes with anything you do. Eating disorders, addictions, etc. all have the same power, which leads an individual to not know if today will be their last. There have been too many people, especially lately, whom have died far too soon due to these addictions and behaviors.
I would hope these stories which are surfacing shed a little light on the outbreak and epidemic these behaviors are becoming. I have yet to find a story which told of an individual who participated in these things which, without getting help from professionals, were able to lead a long happy life. There are however hundreds, thousands, and perhaps millions of stories of those who did not seek professional help and died prematurely, without being able to reach their potential and get to experience what they wanted to do in the first place, "do what the older kids are doing". I would also hope these stories, of these tragic deaths, would encourage and perhaps empower people to get the help they may, or may not, think they need. Just because you don't think you are addicted doesn't mean you're not. I'm sure any of the individuals mentioned above would have denied any claims of abuse.
The best way to prevent abuse, is never to start, however if you have already started, it's best to get out now before there's no tomorrow. Many people start because they want to "do what the big kids are doing", however participating in these behaviors will not give you that chance. I am sure all of the names listed above will be missed, by friends, family, and the entertainment world, however I hope their stories, lives, and tragic premature deaths will lend as a wake up call rather than merely another life lost.