In the weeks since Kurt Cobain's death and the subsequent disclosure of the true extent of his heroin addiction, a support group for musicians with drug or alcohol problems has come to the fore.
Since 1992, the Musicians' Assistance Program has worked with some 60 substance-abusers, helping 40 of them to get treatment. Most of those 40, by their own reports, are still drug-free."I was a professional musician for most of my adult life," said Buddy Arnold, 68, founder of MAP and a former big-band jazz saxophonist, "and I guess you could also call me a professional junkie for 31 years of my life. After I cleaned up and found myself without a musical career anymore. Afterward, I would constantly get phone calls from people asking if I could help them or their friends get into detox. After helping them out for a while, I decided I ought to formalize it."
The organization is a referral service, a resource center, a counseling program and a support group. "Any professional musician who plays any kind of music can call us anytime for help," Arnold said. "If they don't have insurance or cash, we'll pick up the tab for their treatment."