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Clinton Decries 'Heroin Chic' Fashion Look

He says, 'You do not need to glamorize addiction to sell clothes'

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WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 21) -- President Bill Clinton today decried "heroin chic" fashion photography for sending a message that using the once-feared drug is "glamorous" and "sexy."

Clinton, speaking about U.S. drug policy to a group of big-city mayors, took note of recent admissions by magazine editors that the "wasted addict" look in some fashion layouts has glamorized heroin use.

"In the press in recent days, we've seen reports that many of our fashion leaders are now admitting -- and I honor them for doing this -- they're admitting flat-out that images projected in fashion photos in the last few years have made heroin addiction seem glamorous and sexy and cool," Clinton said.

"And as some of those people in those images start to die now, it has become obvious that that is not true," Clinton said. "You do not need to glamorize addiction to sell clothes."

The glorification of heroin, Clinton said, "is not creative. It's destructive. It's not beautiful. It is ugly. And this is not about art. It's about life and death. And glorifying death is not good for any society." (352K wav sound)

Clinton said society can't take a tough attitude toward illegal drugs "and on the other hand, send a very different message every time there might be a little money to be made out of it."

Clinton said when he was growing up, heroin was feared as the worst drug imaginable. "There were these horrible images associated with it -- strung-out junkies lying on street corners in decidedly unglamorous ways," he said.

Now, though, heroin use has gone up while cocaine use has declined, and Clinton said part of the reason are "images that are finding their way to our young people."

Clinton's remarks were prompted by a New York Times story on Tuesday about the fatal drug overdose of Davide Sorrenti, 20, a fashion photographer, and the use of models in drugged stupor-like poses in some fashion magazines.