High-profile celebrities, including The Beatles' Ringo Starr, have been sharing stories and personal accounts of their struggles with addiction at the recent fundraiser for the addiction advocacy nonprofit Facing Addiction with NCADD, per the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Addiction and alcoholism are two of the leading causes of death in the United States for people under the age of 50, according to government data. The diseases cost the country about $442 billion a year, according to Facing Addiction Impact Report.

Starr addressed his experience of addiction and honored Grammy-winning artist Joe Walsh and wife Marjorie Bach Walsh for their work helping addicts.

Several celebrities this year have gone through rehabilitation treatments due to overdoses.

  • In summer 2018, Demi Lovato overdosed on heroin and has primarily kept a low profile other than a candid Instagram post in August. “I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction. What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet,” Lovato wrote.
  • Rapper Macklemore headlined “Recovery Fest,” for a crowd of more than 10,000 at a drug- and alcohol-free concert in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, that also included recovery yoga and recovery meetings.
  • Ben Affleck has also addressed his alcohol addiction after he exited a rehab program.
  • Russell Brand wrote a book titled: “Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions,” about his addiction calling it an epidemic to others.

The bottom line: Despite recent efforts, there is still a need to normalize the conversation of addiction. Many celebrities have hid their addictions from the public, as multiple overdoses and deaths are reported.

Go deeper

15 mins ago - World

China announces retaliatory sanctions on Rubio, Cruz and other U.S. officials

Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that it's imposing sanctions on Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) along with nine other Americans, including Freedom House president Michael Abramowitz and Human Rights Watch Executive director Kenneth Roth, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: It's a direct response to similar actions by the U.S. that included the Trump administration placing sanctions on officials Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last Friday over Beijing's encroachment of the Asian financial hub's s autonomy. China announced last month it would ban Rubio and Cruz from entering the country over their criticisms of human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 33 mins ago - World

Police and protesters clash in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." Rights groups said at least one protester was killed and dozens more wounded in a "police crackdown," per AP.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

2 Lebanese ministers and 9 lawmakers resign days after deadly explosion

Anti-government protesters in Beirut. Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lebanon’s information and environment ministers resigned Sunday in the wake of massive protests over the deadly blast in Beirut's port last week, per AP.

Why it matters: In her resignation letter, Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad called change "elusive" and apologized for not delivering more to the country, which had been devastated by a financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic even before the blast destroyed much of the capital city.