White plaque for West End star to launch anti-drug campaign | Politics | guardian.co.uk
The dead body of early 20th-century West End star Billie Carleton was discovered by her maid in her apartment at the Savoy the morning after a victory ball at the Royal Albert Hall. London‘s aristocracy had attended en masse to celebrate the end of the first world war. Now, almost a century later, Carleton’s death is the first to be marked with a white plaque as part of a new campaign to draw attention to flaws in the so-called war on drugs.
The scheme, modelled on the blue plaque scheme that recognises the homes of the famous, will see white, cocaine-coloured discs mounted on the walls of places associated with celebrities who have died from drug abuse.
The campaign has been launched to coincide with the British release of the film The House I Live In, co-produced by Brad Pitt and The Wire’s creator, David Simon. The award-winning documentary examines US drug policy in particular, and the way it treats drug addiction as a crime, rather than a public health issue.
On Wednesday, the anniversary of the death of Carleton, Britain’s earliest “celebrity” drug fatality, the first in a series of biodegradable plaques will go up. It will be placed on the wall of a house in Bernard Street, the actress’s birthplace.