Sarah Townsend was not a celebrity like Amy Winehouse.

And unlike the British singer, who died Saturday, the 18-year-old high school senior from Florence, NJ committed suicide.


Tests showed that Townsend, a well-liked athlete, had a “significant” amount of cocaine in her body when she drowned herself last spring.

An autopsy on Winehouse, who was arguably as legendary for public intoxication as for music, was inconclusive as to her cause of death at age 27.

While Winehouse was most certainly an alcoholic and a drug addict, it’s possible Townsend never used cocaine until May 9, when she went below the surface of Sherman Pond in Burlington Township for the last time.

But at the very least, illegal drug use is a part of both tragedies.

Those of us in recovery from alcoholism and/or addiction can understand why friends and family apparently didn’t notice anything unusual immediately prior to the deaths of these two young women.

Drinkers and users generally are experts at concealing the truth.

Unless we accept the help we need to help ourselves, eventually the differences between true and false will disappear.

And so will we.