The most recent tragic drug-related celebrity death on everybody’s lips is that of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Unfortunately, Mr. Hoffman’s death is only the most recent to be added to a way-too-long list of stars we lost because of drugs. It’s really a shame that addiction is still so misunderstood when there is so much evidence as to just how powerful and deadly the disease is. Here, we will remember 20 stars we lost too soon due to addiction.
#1. Cory Monteith, 31, the Canadian actor and musician was best known for his role as Finn Hudson on the Fox television series Glee. Monteith was found in his hotel room last July, having succumbed to an alcohol and heroin overdose.
#2. River Phoenix, 23, at his young age, was already a critically acclaimed actor whose talent was boundless. Phoenix collapsed and died of a drug overdose outside an LA nightclub in 1993.
#3. Heath Ledger, 28, another young and extremely talented actor, Ledger was also found, alone in his NYC apartment, a victim of his addiction to prescription drugs. Ledger left behind a young daughter.
#4. Chris Farley, 33, comedian and actor. Probably best known for his various roles as a cast member on Saturday Night Live as well as his silly comedies made with best bud, David Spade. Farley died of a speedball overdose in 1997.
#5. John Belushi, 33, comedian, actor, and musician, Belushi is best known as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. He was known for his brash, energetic comedy style and raunchy humor. Belushi died in 1982 of a speedball overdose, a mixture cocaine and heroin.
#6. Judy Garland, 47, died of a barbiturate overdose back in 1969. Garland was a talented singer and actress, perhaps best known for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
#7. Billie Holiday, 44, was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Holiday struggled with heroin addiction as well as alcoholism. She died in 1959 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure.
#8. Jimi Hendrix, 27, was an American musician and singer-songwriter. His mainstream career was quite brief – only 4 years long – but, in that short time established himself as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” He died in 1977 from respiratory arrest and asphyxia due to alcohol and barbiturate overdose.
#9. Janis Joplin, 27, singer and musician, she was known as “The Queen of Psychedelic Soul.” Rolling Stone magazine ranked her #46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004 and #28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. She died in 1970 from a heroin overdose.
#10. Jim Morrison, 27, Musician, singer, songwriter The Doors, Morrison died in 1971 from heart failure from a possible heroin or cocaine overdose. Morrison was also known to struggle with severe alcoholism.
#11. Amy Winehouse, 27, was a very talented British singer whose death in 2011 was ruled as accidental alcohol poisoning. Winehouse had recently completed a rehab program. She had also struggled with various co-occurring problems, such as self-harm, depression, and bulimia.
#12. Corey Haim, 38, was an actor and, at one time, teen heartthrob. Haim had used aliases to procure 553 prescription pills in the 32 days prior to his death in 2010, having “doctor-shopped” seven different physicians and used seven pharmacies to obtain the supply, which included 195 Valium, 149 Vicodin, 194 Soma and 15 Xanax.
#13. Michael Jackson, 50, the “King of Pop” died in 2009 from cardiac arrest, due to acute propofol intoxication. The autopsy report also noted the presence of various other drugs, including midazolam, lidocaine, diazepam, and lorazepam.
#14. Elvis Presley, 42, musician, singer, actor, cultural icon, died in 1977 from a heart arrhythmia, possibly aggravated by multiple prescriptions: methaqualone, codeine, barbiturates, as well as cocaine.
#15. Anna Nicole Smith, 40, was a model, actress, and television personality who first gained popularity in 1993 as Playboy’s Playmate of the Year. She died in 2007 from a drug overdose of the sedative chloral hydrate combined with other prescription drugs Klonopin, Ativan, Serax, and Valium. Tragically, Smith’s 20-year-old son, Daniel, also died from drugs 5 months before his mother.
#16. Mitch Hedberg, 37, my favorite comedian, Hedberg died in 2007 at the height of his career from “multiple drug toxicity” in the form of cocaine and heroin. Sadly, he was found alone, in a hotel room.
#17. Gia Marie Carangi, 26, was an American fashion model during the late 1970s and early 1980s and is considered to be the first supermodel. She struggled with polysubstance abuse, using alcohol, cocaine, and heroin, was an IV drug user and died of AIDS in 1986. Carangi is thought to be one of the first famous women to die of AIDS. Angelina Jolie portrayed this tragic figure in a biopic entitled Gia, made by HBO in 1998.
#18. Derek Boogaard, 28, a Canadian professional ice hockey player for the New York Rangers, died in 2011 from an accidental alcohol and oxycodone overdose.
#19. Len Bias, 23, Boston Celtics second and overall NBA draft pick of 1986, passed away from cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose in 1986.
#20. Whitney Houston, 48, singer and actress drowned in 2012 in her hotel room bathtub from complications of cocaine and heart disease. At autopsy, the presence of Flexeril, marijuana, Xanax and Benadryl were found.
All of these people had more than fame and drug addiction in common. They were all super talented people who died before their time.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Whitney Houston, Cory Monteith, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, River Pheonix, Chris Farley, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday; that doesn’t even make a dent in the list of celebrities we tragically lost all too soon to drug and alcohol addiction. And then there are those celebrities who are still here with us and who have struggled or are currently struggling with addiction: Robert Downey Jr, Lindsay Lohan, Matthew Perry, Kristen Stewart, Drew Barrymore; again, the list could go on and on.
So, are celebrities more prone to addiction than non-celebrities?
It might seem as though celebrities are more prone to addiction by the sheer number of famous people whose struggles with drugs and alcohol have come to light in the very public domain of stardom. But is there something about being a celebrity that makes someone more likely to turn into an addict? I think there are several things to consider when answering the question of whether celebrities are more prone to addiction.
People, Places, Things
As many of us in recovery know, we must be wary of people, places, and things. I think Hollywood and the other haunts of the rich and famous are perfect cesspools for drug use. By being around people who use, in the places they use, and around things associated with using, the non-addicted celebrity is exposed, perhaps for the first time in their life, to the glamorous-yet-seedy lifestyle of fame, fortune, and drugs. This might sound strange but, it’s kind of like prison: when a non-violent offender, say someone charged with possession of a controlled substance – which carries a hefty penalty – is thrown in the jail or prison system with violent and hardened criminals, many times, the newbie becomes indoctrinated with a new sense (or lack thereof) of morality – the prison code. So, this relatively harmless offender comes out of the system as a much more dangerous threat to society, having learned the “tools of the trade” to lead a criminal lifestyle. This is all too often the case. Again, perhaps a strange analogy but, quite fitting in my opinion. In the case of celebrities, you have this wide-eyed kid who’s new on the scene and hoping for their big break at stardom. They are all-too willing to please and partake in activities if it’s with the “right” people – the big-shots or those who are closely connected to the big shots.
With big paychecks comes the ability to support big habits. That’s just common sense. But feeding a drug habit is a very expensive undertaking and even some of the highest paid celebrities can become bankrupt in the face of a nasty drug habit. When in my active addiction, there were so many times I’d think to myself or tell my “using buddies” that I wished I was famous but not for the fame; for the money. My biggest dream at that time was somehow having tons of money, so much that I wouldn’t know what to do with it. Well, I knew and it wasn’t anything good – I would indulge my addicted ways with a steady supply of drugs until my own untimely death from an overdose. That’s actually how I planned it. Sick, yes. But not all that uncommon among junkies.
Fame and Fortune Cause Addiction: The Bottom Line
Could these things actually be the cause of addiction? In reality, I don’t think so. They definitely help to feed an addiction in someone who may already be predisposed to substance abuse but, I don’t think being a celebrity, alone, can cause addiction. Science has found actual genetic evidence of brain differences in people with addiction – and not just while they are actively using. There is some pretty compelling evidence from studies of identical twins that shows that addiction may very well be hereditary. Further bolstering these finds are the results of many studies, which show that the majority of people who have tried hard drugs did not then become addicted to using them. Also, consider all of the folks who are able to drink responsibly and then there are true alcoholics, who can’t simply stop after one or two drinks. This alone goes to show that addiction doesn’t have really all that much to do with the substance, itself, rather the individual.
If you or your loved one is in need of alcohol or drug addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
Heroin has a really, really bad reputation. It is touted as the worst drug on the face of the planet. Pictures of its users usually include homeless people in alleys shooting it up with dirty needles. What many people know about heroin is from what they see portrayed on television. Heroin and heroin users are surrounded by a cloud of hysteria, horrific media, and quick judgment. We are here to set the record straight. Because while heroin, yes, is very dangerous and addictive, some of what you may or may not know about this drug and its users are myth not fact.
And it is time to debunk the myths. This is drug myths debunked: Heroin.
Myth #1: Heroin users are dirty, broke, homeless people who use needles
The recent death of Glee star Corey Monteith should have laid this myth to rest but this myth will probably go on for as long as there are homeless people in alleys that are using heroin. Because the truth is yes, many homeless people shoot up heroin in alleys but they aren’t the only ones. Heroin use is not resigned to the broke “junkies”. There are many white collar, kids even, who are snorting or smoking (not shooting up) heroin with their weekly allowance. Not only that but there are people who seem very clean cut and put together such as Corey Monteith that use heroin. Heroin use doesn’t discriminate and heroin users are not as easily characterized as you may think. There are kids who go to a great college, get a degree, and all the while have an intense and life threatening heroin addiction. Heroin addiction can affect anyone despite their economic standing, education, race, sex, and location.
Myth #2: Heroin is more dangerous than alcohol.
This myth is false. Heroin is not more dangerous as alcohol. Alcohol is just as dangerous as heroin. The truth is alcohol in a lot of ways is even more dangerous than heroin. Alcohol just happens to be more socially accepted. The reasons that alcohol is more dangerous than heroin could go on and on. For instance, that the withdrawal from alcohol could kill you and heroin withdrawal is not fatal. Alcohol’s effects on the body and brain are much more intense and long lasting. Heroin has some medical benefit as an opiate even though it is an illicit drug whereas alcohol has none. Just because a drug is socially accepted or not socially accepted doesn’t make it any more or less safe.
Myth #3: If you try heroin even once you will become addicted immediately
Addiction is a complex disease that takes a while to develop. It is not the same as physical dependence – you can be physically dependent on a substance but not addicted. It takes time for a heroin user to develop physical tolerance and even though it is a very addictive substance the true state of addiction will also take some time to manifest. This doesn’t mean that trying heroin even once is safe. It just means that if you do or have done heroin once and then never used it again this is why.
Myth #4: About what to do when someone overdoses on heroin
There are many myths about overdosing and what to do if someone is overdosing or on how to prevent overdosing. These myths include putting someone in a bath or shower which can lead to drowning and death. Slapping, hitting or pinching a person will not rouse a person into consciousness nor will trying to make them walk around when they are slipping into unconsciousness. Some people believe that inducing vomiting will reduce the drug affects but this is dangerous and may lead to choking. Some intravenous drug users believe that injecting a person with another drug, such as amphetamines or adrenaline when they are overdosing on heroin, will reverse the overdose (remember the scene from Pulp Fiction? In reality, intracardiac injection is old fashioned and an extreme last resort, and, Narcan, not adrenaline, is used to revive a heroin OD). Salt water and milk injection are also other common myths. The fact is if someone is overdosing on heroin you need to call 911 immediately. Someone who is overdosing on heroin is not going to just kill over like many people think either. Many times a heroin overdose is gradual and the breathing will slowly stop. So there is time. Get help!
Heroin is a dangerous drug that should not be taken lightly. The best way to prevent heroin use and heroin overdose is to know the facts. Heroin abuse and knowledge about heroin that is based in myth is not effective and can lead to many problems and in the worst case scenarios such as heroin overdose, death. Know the facts, know the truth and share it.
If someone you know is in need of treatment for heroin addiction, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
Cory Monteith’s addiction-related death will be addressed in the “Glee” episode bidding farewell to his character, Finn Hudson, a Fox executive said Thursday.
Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters the drama will address Cory Monteith’s death in the third episode, during which Fox will air public service announcements about substance abuse. Additionally, proceeds from the third episode of Glee’s upcoming fifth season will be donated to a new fund for the late actor. The first two episodes, airing Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, will not mention Finn, who was absent for the final two episodes of last season while the actor was in rehab.
Drugs, however, will not be the cause of death for Finn (Monteith). Reilly could not say how show creator Ryan Murphy will deal with the character’s passing since the script has yet to be completed.
The 31-year-old Monteith was found dead in a hotel room in Canada last month. Tests showed his death was caused by a mixture of heroin and alcohol
Reilly said that while Monteith was open about his past — the actor had spoken publicly of his addiction struggles — he wasn’t ‘‘as open about it in the present.’’
As with other cases where heroin and alcohol were involved, Cory’s death was likely an overdose of either alcohol, heroin or both, resulting in coma, brain damage and eventually death. Even if he had not taken a lethal amount of heroin, it proved to be deadly when he combined it with alcohol.
The vast majority of drug overdose cases involve the use of more than one drug.
Drugs that depress that central nervous system slow the heartbeat, or in large enough doses, can stop it from beating entirely. Without oxygen-rich blood pumping to the body, brain cells become depleted and can die within minutes.
Heroin, a highly addictive opiate drug, is considered a depressant because of its effects sedating the central nervous system. Alcohol also functions as a depressant.
Combining these two depressants forms a deadly drug combination.
Drugs of abuse may give the user a feeling of pleasure, but it is important to remember that they are toxic substances. The vast majority of drug overdose cases involve the use of more than one drug. In 2003 the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported an average of 2.7 drugs in fatal overdose cases. Importantly in these cases, no single drug is usually present at a lethal dose. Rather it is the synergistic effect (think: 1+1=3) of the combining of drugs that is lethal. For example, a combination of heroin and alcohol can be especially dangerous. Heroin and alcohol both suppress breathing, but by different mechanisms.
Deadly drug: Heroin
Heroin is the cause for more deaths by overdose than any other single drug. The majority of these deaths ultimately result from respiratory failure. A toxic dose of heroin increases the inhibitory effect of GABA, which causes breathing to slow and eventually stop.
Deadly drug: Alcohol
Alcohol overdoses occur predominantly in two ways. First, a high intake of alcohol causes unconsciousness. At high levels, it can also cause breathing to slow or cease. Second, the body tries to rid itself of unabsorbed alcohol by emptying the stomach. If a person vomits while they are unconscious, they may inhale the vomit and compromise their breathing or even drown.
Deadly drug combo: Heroin and alcohol
Heroin and alcohol together is especially dangerous, experts say, because alcohol can exaggerate heroin’s effect on the central nervous system.
Drugs that depress that central nervous system slow the heartbeat, or in large enough doses, can stop it from beating entirely. Without oxygen-rich blood pumping to the body, brain cells become depleted and can die within minutes. Heroin, a highly addictive opiate drug, is considered a depressant because of its effects sedating the central nervous system. Alcohol also functions as a depressant. Combining these two depressants forms a deadly drug combination.
Ingesting alcohol and using heroin simultaneously can result in a coma that leaves the patient with permanent brain damage that causes lasting cognitive, behavioral, and physical disability. Combining these two substances can even be fatal. The danger occurs because both substances slow down the functions of the central nervous system, which regulates heart rate and breathing. Once the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain is disrupted severely enough or for a long enough period of time, brain damage will result. At that point, the brain can no longer send necessary messages to control and regulate other major organs, so that if the process is not reversed in time by immediate medical intervention, the results will be catastrophic.
While this deadly drug combo of heroin and alcohol won’t create a third toxic substance like cocaine and alcohol; it can be potentially fatal and is highly dangerous. There have been many people who have overdosed on non-lethal amounts of both substances just due to the fact that they were mixed together. In fact, one of the most recent overdoses of heroin and alcohol combined you probably heard of: Glee star Cory Monteith.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for Alcohol or Heroin Addiction please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.