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Justin Bieber Arrest Raises Questions Over Young Stars And Substance Abuse

posted 23 Jan 2014, 18:53 by Mpelembe   [ updated 23 Jan 2014, 18:54 ]

19-year-old pop star Justin Bieber's arrest in Florida for drunk driving raises questions over the effects of fame on young celebrities.

MIAMI BEACHFLORIDAUNITED STATES (JANUARY 23, 2014) (REUTERS) -  19-year-old pop star Justin Bieber's arrest has raised questions over the effects of the limelight on young stars, especially whether or not it contributes to a pattern of substance abuse and run-ins with the law.

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Bieber was released on bail on Thursday (January 23), after being arrested for drunk driving in Florida and could potentially face six months in jail, although most experts agree he will likely receive a lighter sentence for a first-time offense.

The Miami Beach Police Chief, Raymond Martinez, said that Beiber had also admitted to consuming prescription drugs.

"He was brought to the Miami Beach police station where a DUI investigation was conducted and it was determined that he was impaired. During the investigation Mr. Bieber made statements that he had consume some alcohol, that he has smoked some marijuana and that he had consumed some prescription medication," Martinez said.

Dr. Beverly Berg is a mental health therapist in Los Angeles and author of the book "Loving Someone in Recovery." She told Reuters that Bieber's arrest might end up benefitting the young star, by forcing him to admit that he has a problem.

"It would help if he could admit if he had a problem but if the law gets involved then the law makes you admit that you have a problem, whether you believe it or not, so sometimes it's the law that forces people into really taking a look at what's going on, and sometimes they just wake up to realizing that they're really in trouble," Berg said.

Bieber is not the first young star to find himself falling into a downward spiral of substance abuse and problems with law enforcement. In recent years, stars likeLindsay Lohan have faced similar problems, and in even worse cases, such as those of "Glee" star Cory Monteith and UK singer Amy Winehouse, who both died by overdosing on either drugs or alcohol.

"It's a very stressful existence, people glamorize it and they envy it and they wish they could have fame and, you know, be in the spotlight, but they do not understand how much of a 'stressor' it actually is, so a lot of celebrities end up medicating themselves from the stress using substances and it's very, very common," Berg said.

She also emphasized the dangers of thrusting young teenagers into the media spotlight, and how that can potentially cause problems down the road.

"You know you're taking kids off of normal developmental tracks, you're arresting their development and putting them in a position of having to be more focused on the outside rather than their own development as a human being, and, again I don't want to demonize the entertainment industry, because I love the movies I love television, I love popular culture, but at what cost, at what expense of human development, and I do think that it's overly stimulating for a child to be having the world's eyes on them all the time," Berg said.

As for Bieber, his recent arrest is his most serious run-in with the law during a year in which his problems have ranged from allegations of speeding through his gated community near Los Angeles to a felony investigation into whether he pelted a neighbor's house with eggs.

His once meteoric career has also showed signs of distress. A year ago, he became the youngest artist with five No. 1 albums, but in March he collapsed on aLondon stage and in December hinted he might be ready to retire after releasing a compilation album and a film about his life.