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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Whitney Houston had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more with that part of our coverage.

The 48-year-old singer had reportedly been in and out of rehab. Experts we talked to in Philadelphia say addiction is an extremely tough battle.

On Thursday night, friends say Whitney Houston was drinking champagne. And earlier in the week, preparing for the Grammy’s, she was reportedly disheveled and smelled of alcohol.

“Once you get caught up in that it’s hell. It’s pure hell,” said Frank Mount, who abused alcohol and drugs for decades. Like Whitney Houston, he stopped and started repeatedly, and had several scary episodes of overdosing.

“My last rehab was 1986. My first was 1974. I’ve been clean and sober for 25 years,” said Frank. Now he’s a supervisor at Gaudenzia, a drug and alcohol mental health agency, where they have both in and out patient rehab services.

“You really have to stay in touch with your support system ya know every day,” said Frank.

He says addicts like him, and Whitney Houston, can’t have just one drink.

“We have a fatal disease, and we’ve got to keep it in check, and there’s a way of doing it,” said Frank. He says the commitment to stay sober is difficult, hard work that needs to be constantly reinforced. He says it appears Houston couldn’t overcome the demons of addiction, but there are millions who have.

“People do recover, and people do bounce back. And they do become productive members of society,” said Frank.

Right now we don’t have a lot of official information specifically if drugs had anything to do with Whitney Houston’s death.


Gaudenzia Rehab Information – www.gaudenzia.org

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