It may well be true that individuals have to make their own mistakes, but one would hope that tragic examples of drug use by celebrities would have some impact with young people tempted to try them.
Earlier this year, the world lost Whitney Houston. She was a victim of her excesses. The last tragic years of her life as she battled drug and alcohol addictions should scream at would-be experimenters: Stop! You can't handle this!
We are constantly told that entertainers and star athletes shouldn't be considered as role models. Isn't there some way we can at least hold them up as warning signs?
Wouldn't pictures of Elvis, Michael Jackson and poor Whitney be a great centerpiece for an anti-drug campaign? There are videos showing a loopy, bloated Elvis forgetting the words to "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" There is the audio recording Michael's doctor made of him rambling along incoherently.
And, there are videos of a raspy-voiced and dazed Whitney trying to perform - and being booed.
There must be some way to make good use of this wasted talent. Whitney Houston was an incredible, inspirational performer.
Perhaps she can inspire one more time. If showing the ravages of her drug and alcohol abuse keeps one person from going down that deadly path, it will serve as a lasting tribute to that beautiful, talented woman.
(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.