Addiction kills—plain and simple. According to a new study from the Department of Heath and Human Services, only 8 percent of women who suffer seek help. Why? According to Debbie Carroll, executive director of MusiCares, it's because of shame. "Women continue to be stigmatized (for being addicts), mainly because of their role in their families and community," Carroll says. "They want to hide their problem." Women are trying to "treat" themselves, an impossible task for an addict, for fear of losing their children, their jobs or possibly even having to serve jail time. The Department of Transportation released a study indicating that the number of women abusing alcohol, according to related traffic arrests, has risen 28 percent in the past 10 years.
The issue is tragic. This year, MusiCares, which was established by the Recording Academy, and its MAP (Musicians' Assistance Program) fund are focusing on helping women find help via a kick-off concert/fundraiser in Los Angeles on May 7 and a yearlong, nationwide PSA campaign targeting women.
Former first lady Betty Ford and the Betty Ford Center will be saluted during the concert at Club Nokia. Her daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will be on hand to accept the award. An all-star lineup will perform to raise funds, including Charlotte Caffey and Kathy Valentine of the Go Go's, Bow Wow Wow's Annabella Lwin, Beth Hart and Slash, former Hole drummer Patty Schemel, Lemmy from Motorhead, Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, Paul Ill and Linda Perry. Samantha Ronson will DJ live in memory of the late DJ AM, who struggled and died of addiction and DJed the event last year.
Singer/songwriter Beth Hart has been in and out of recovery since she was 13 years old. Thanks to a strong recovery program, she is more than six years sober and is looking forward to a comeback in the United States. "My addiction was out of control," she says. "I had made a mess of things, so I headed to Europe, and I've been performing and working there steadily. But I'm ready to start back up at home." With a label deal in place, she's working on her next album.
Singer/songwriter/producer/label owner Linda Perry is a force of nature. Though she is not an addict, she's seen her friends go through some tough times, including her bass player Paul Ill, who asked her to perform during the MAP event. "Musicians don't get healthcare through their labels; they have nowhere to turn but MAP," Perry says. "It's rough on the road. I've seen people go from sober to drunk on a tour—they start doing drugs to keep themselves awake for a show, and it gets out of control."
Drummer Patty Schemel got help from MAP three times because she suffered, as many addicts do, from chronic relapses. "MAP was there for me," she says. "I had lost everything. I wasn't playing music. I totally surrendered to getting help." Now sober for five years, Schemel runs her own dogcare business and is getting back into music. "I have two projects in the works that I'm really excited about."
MusiCares/MAP helps everyone in the music industry who is in need, from the administrative assistants at companies to musicians and songwriters. "We offer critical care for the music industry," Carroll says.
Over the past four years, the MusiCares MAP Fund has provided more than $3.1 million in treatment and care for close to 1,000 people in the music industry. MAP was founded in 1992 by former heroine addict and jazz sax player Buddy Arnold and his wife, Carol Fields. They have both since passed away, but their memory lives on through everyone MAP saves.