Dave Navarro Speaks Out on “Compassion” and Addiction

By Paul Gaita 04/15/14

The Jane's Addiction guitarist talked about his struggle with heroin addiction as part of a HuffPost Live segment hosted by Ricky Camilleri.

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Former Jane’s Addiction guitarist and current television personality Dave Navarro spoke eloquently on the perils of drug addiction and the struggles inherent to recovery as part of a roundtable discussion aired on the Huffington Post’s live-streaming network, HuffPost Live.

Navarro, whose battles with cocaine and heroin addiction have been detailed in the media and his 2005 autobiography, Don’t Try This At Home, supported statements by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin in his State of the State Address on January 8, 2014 about the overwhelming level of heroin addiction gripping his constituents. “[We are] finally hearing some compassion from the political world about this disease,” said Navarro. “That’s what it really is, whether people want to face that or not… the important element here is making treatment available, and making [people aware of it. It’s] ‘if you do drugs and get caught with drugs, you’re going to jail,’ as opposed to ‘We have an opportunity to enhance your life.’”

The guitarist has deeply personal reasons for speaking about the need for treatment solutions instead of arrests. “The reason we’re talking about taking the focus off the criminalization of addiction is that the threat of a consequence is never going to be a deterrent for an addict. We already know going into this that we could die, and that we’re going to lose our relationships, and we could go to jail, and yet, we still do it.”

Navarro admitted to committing crimes in pursuit of funds for drugs - “plenty of theft and burglary,” he said – and suffered debilitating health problems as a result of his addiction. But like so many addicts, life-altering situations like those were not enough for him to seek help for his issues. What is needed, he said, are solutions that come with the support of communities and government.

“I can’t tell you how many drug addicts that I’ve worked with and hung out with that have been in the throes of their addiction and said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ They were helpless," Navarro said. "If our communities made treatments available, the answer [for addicts] would be available from the onset.”

Watch the entire segment on HuffPost Live:

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.