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Brother Says Family’s Agony Led to Decision to Go Public

July 24, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ The brother who first reported that singer Boy George had a heroin problem said today he decided to take the matter before the public because of the pain it was causing the family.

David O’Dowd, in an interview with the ″CBS Morning News,″ said he feared his action would hurt the family further, but it was ″either do it right now or wait, I don’t know, six-eight months, until some tragedy happened, like he died.″

He said the flamboyant rocker was ″completely addicted.″

″There’s no point saying he was like just taking drugs. He was addicted,″ O’Dowd said.

Boy George faces a court appearance next Tuesday in connection with his arrest earlier this month on a charge of heroin possession.

Four people, including his brother Kevin, have been charged with conspiring to supply Boy George with heroin.

Boy George, 25, whose real name is George O’Dowd, is known for feminine hairstyles and elaborate makup that helped advance the pop music trend toward androgyny. He and his band Culture Club topped the charts in the early 1980s with ″Karma Chameleon″ and ″Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.″

He made international headlines after his brother David told a London television station that Boy George had been addicted to heroin for about eight months and had lost 40 pounds.

Richard Branson, owner of Boy George’s recording label, Virgin Records, had said the singer was being treated for heroin addiction, but Boy George told the News Of The World newspaper in a recent interview, ″I’ve made no admission about receiving heroin treatment.″

David O’Dowd told CBS he decided to go public because of ″seeing the family in such a state. My mom and dad crying, and just seeing him, actually. ... Everything he had just seemed to have gone.″

He said he tried to talk to Boy George. ″But it’s very hard to speak to any drug addict. A drug addict is like an alcoholic, he’s like a gambler. They never admit they have problems. But they can’t help themselves until they admit they’ve got problems.″

O’Dowd said his brother was in a private treatment center and feeling better, ″but he’s got a long way to go. You just can’t turn around and say, ‘That’s it. I no longer need any to survive.’ Obviously, it takes a long time.″

″The thing is, during that time, when he was going through the bad time, he had a lot of rotten apples around him. He had a lot of bad people around him. And now they’re no longer around him. Things should work out fine. ...

″I’m sure he’ll be singing, for the next 20 years.″

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