Funny lady Amy Poehler is known for her portrayal of the idealistic and optimistic city council woman Lesley Knope on the sit com Parks and Rec, and for the most part, she is known off screen as a similarly squeaky clean mother of two.
In her recently published autobiography "Yes, Please," however, Poehler reveals that in her younger days, she actually experimented with hard drugs like ecstasy and cocaine.Poehler makes it clear that she no longer uses these drugs, in part because of her obligation to her young kids.
She writes that she is unable to " Explain to a 4- and 6-year-old that you can't play Rescue Bots because (she had) to spend all day in bed eating Cape Cod potato chips and watching The Bicycle Thief," and although Poehler does not glamorize her drug use in the book, some critics argue that she is setting a bad example with her admission.
Drug Use and Role Models
The criticism that some have for Poehler is very similar to that which is often leveraged against professional athletes who are caught using illegal drugs: by publicly being a figure who is successful and likable, they are missing a chance to help young people make good choices and may even be sending the very dangerous message that drugs are appealing or will make them look cool.
Many child development experts argue that the adult role models that a child looks up to will play a major roll in the type of decisions that that child makes as they move into adolescents. Although most children count parents and teachers s their most influential roll models, most kids and parents agree that television and sports personalities play a huge part in their children's lives as well.
Humor Used to Minimize the Severity of Drugs
Another critique of Poehler's admission is that she takes the subject of drug abuse too lightly and in doing so may be using her significant power as a public figure to glamorize drugs rather than to speak honestly about the grave threats that they can pose to a person's health and well being.
Many movies and television shows have been criticized for glamorizing drug use, which may make adults and teens alike more likely to succumb to the use of drugs whose uncomfortable and damaging side effects are anything but glamorous.
Poehler Has Not Made Comment About Her Use Outside of Book
While many health experts are speculating that Poehler's light hearted take on the serious matter of drug use may indeed be posing a harmful risk to young people, Poehler has made no direct comments about the admission or what she believes will be the repercussions of another celebrity who has made drugs look fun and even fashionable.
Poehler does come from a long comedy background, and some members of the comedy community argue that comedians should be given more leeway in terms of the types of subjects they may speak candidly about.
Drug Use and SNL Have a Long History
Before she starred on Parks and Rec, Poehler was a mainstay of the long-running late night show SNL, and many fellow alumni of the show have admitted to struggling with drug use. Some cast members, like Chris Farley, died after publicly struggling with the sue of drugs like cocaine, and multiple memoirs have recounted drug fueled parties and even working environments at the high paced and often stressful show.
In her book, Poehler does not indicate that fellow cast members of hers also used drugs.