Author: Justin Mckibben
Since late last week, the tragic story of the sudden death of rock legend Chris Cornell has taken some heartbreaking and bewildering turns. While the initial reports held no details of the singer’s unexpected death, more recent reports have indicated the cause of death was suicide. However, as the story continues Chris Cornell’s family is skeptical and openly critical of this conclusion. Now some are speaking out saying it was drugs, and not depression, responsible for the sudden passing.
Born Christopher John Boyle, the 52 year old Seattle, Washington native was one of the most recognizable voices of American rock music. His famous and powerful vocal belting technique along with an impressive voice range has inspired countless artists and soothed the rock genre with its passionate and often brooding words. The guitarist, singer and songwriter is best known as lead vocalist for the bands:
Cornell was also the founder and front man for Temple of the Dog, a tribute band dedicated to his friend, the late Andrew (Andy) Wood. Andy, Chris Cornell’s roommate who played in the band Mother Love Bone, died in 1990 from a heroin overdose.
He is also known for his numerous solo works, soundtrack contributions since 1991. Cornell is credited as one of the architects of the 1990’s grunge movement
Chris Cornell was found in the MGM Grand Detroit in the early hours of Thursday morning, May 18, 2017. He had only hours earlier been on stage performing with his Soundgarden band.
Since his teenage years Chris Cornell struggled through multiple battles with addiction and roads to recovery. In one 2006 interview Cornell actually talked about having a bad experience with PCP at age 14 and developed a panic disorder. He admitted that as the child of two alcoholics, drinking ultimately led him back to drugs in his late 20s.
The rocker managed to get off of drugs and alcohol between around the year 1980 up until 1997. Around 1997 his first marriage was failing, and the band Soundgarden had split up. Cornell resorted to using substances including the powerful prescription opioid OxyContin.
In 2002 Cornell checking into rehab, and afterward commented on the experience stating:
“It was a long period of coming to the realization that this way (sober) is better. Going through rehab, honestly, did help … it got me away from just the daily drudgery of depression and either trying to not drink or do drugs or doing them and you know.”
Chris Cornell also noted in an interview in 2011 that the biggest difference he had noticed when Soundgarden had reunited and began making music together was that the presence of alcohol was no longer constant. Without conversation, it had just been removed from the picture.
Wife Vicky Refutes Suicide Reports
Although he was a profoundly emotional musician with a catalog of melancholy or blues melodies, many have called into question whether Chris Cornell would actually knowingly take his own life, including his wife, Vicky. Reports have said Vicky does not believe Cornell was suicidal. Less than 24 hours after the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Chris Cornell had died as a result of suicide by hanging himself, Cornell’s wife and attorney openly challenged that conclusion. Lawyer Kirk Pasich said in a statement:
“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris – or if any substances contributed to his demise,”
The statement also said the family found these implications disturbing, and that Chris Cornell was a recovering drug addict who had been taking a prescription anti-anxiety medication Ativan. The statement added:
“The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions,”
The statement included medical literature indicating that,
“Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.”
The Night Of
Vicky shared her heartbreak over the loss of her husband of 13 years, the father of their two pre-teen children, and told interviews that Cornell, a devoted husband and father, had come home to spend Mother’s Day with his family between shows, and flown to his next stop Wednesday.
“When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do,”
“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”
In her own words Vicky reasserted the belief that his anti-anxiety medication had played a bigger role in the tragic events, stating:
“What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life. The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know. Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us.”
Cornell leaves behind his wife Vicky, their two children- Toni, 12 years old and Christopher, 11 years old- as well as his 16 year old daughter Lillian Jean from his first marriage to Susan Silver, the former manager for Soundgarden.
Chris Cornell on Black Days
Some might argue the following statement supports the suicide claims, but others could argue it supports the doubts presented by Cornell’s family. Back in 2014, Chris Cornell had spoken in depth with Rolling Stone magazine for a 20th anniversary edition of his band Soundgarden’s ground-breaking Superunknown album. When asked about the song “Fell on Black Days” he had said,
“I’d noticed already in my life where there would be periods where I would feel suddenly, “Things aren’t going so well, and I don’t feel that great about my life.” Not based on any particular thing. I’d sort of noticed that people have this tendency to look up one day and realize that things have changed. There wasn’t a catastrophe. There wasn’t a relationship split up. Nobody got in a car wreck. Nobody’s parents died or anything. The outlook had changed, while everything appears circumstantially the same.”
“No matter how happy you are, you can wake up one day without any specific thing occurring to bring you into a darker place, and you’ll just be in a darker place anyway. To me, that was always a terrifying thought, because that’s something that – as far as I know – we don’t necessarily have control over. So that was the song I wanted to write.”
What this may suggest is that beneath how happy Chris Cornell was with his family and his future, some part of his perspective could have made him even more vulnerable to a sudden shift created by a powerful medication designed to impact emotions.
Anti-Anxiety Drug Ativan
Is it possible that anti-anxiety medication could have played a part in Chris Cornell’s apparent suicide? According to the list of side-effects for Ativan and the common opinion of experts as to the risks associated with these drugs, absolutely.
Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam. This prescription drug calls into the category of benzodiazepine (benzo) medications. Lorazepam is typically used for treating:
- Anxiety disorders
- Sleep problems
- Active seizures
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Nausea or vomiting from chemotherapy
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, serious side effects of using Ativan include:
- Worsening depression
- Unusual mood or behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Dizziness, drowsiness
- Slurred speech
- Lack of balance or coordination
- Memory problems
The truth is, Ativan is intended for short-term use, specifically for treating anxiety. In fact, the FDA advises against using any benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, for longer than four weeks. There is a very real risk of dependence, withdrawal symptoms and even overdose.
The Dangers of Legal Drugs
Back in March 2016 we wrote about how data shows that in the last two decades deaths by overdose of anti-anxiety drugs have quadrupled, which coincides with a tripling rate of these drugs being prescribed. What is even worse, independent reviews from different research groups showed that in many cases the pharmaceutical companies were misrepresenting suicides or suicidal thoughts in their own research reports.
Could the unusual behaviors and slurred speech Vicky described of Chris Cornell be signs of something else at play? Could a lifetime of struggling with a panic disorder, depression and drugs have been exacerbated by the presence of a chemical that worsened his depression, throwing his mood into chaos and flooding his vulnerable state with thoughts of suicide have been the cause of such a heartrending and desperate act? Drugs, legal or not, can devastate.
Now, there is definitely a shadow on the sun.
We have seen time and time again how legal, medical drugs have destroyed amazing and talented individuals. We saw it with Michael Jackson and Prince. We’ve seen how depression plays into the same tragedies, such as with the loss of Robin Williams. Still, one thing Chris Cornell spoke of with addiction is that it becomes glorified by the fact drugs kill famous people, and the world weeps, while ignoring the everyday tragedies of the unknown but extraordinary, everyday people. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
Drum roll please….the most dangerous drug in the world is…alcohol. What? Did you think I was going to say heroin? Crack? PCP? Nope. It may surprise you, given that it’s legal and socially acceptable but, when you look at several aspects – not only health risks – alcohol is actually the worst drug out there. And, just to be clear: Alcohol is a drug.
According to Professor David Nutt, who is the Edmund J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head of the Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Molecular Imaging at Imperial College London, alcohol ranks as the most dangerous drug in the world, with heroin and then crack a somewhat distant second- and third-place, respectively.
Professor Nutt was once the government chief drugs adviser in the UK and was fired from his official post by the former Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, when his findings did not support the general consensus regarding alcohol and its acceptability; Nutt refused to leave the drugs debate and staked his job and reputation on his findings and refused to back down.
Nutt then went on to form the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, which he says aims to investigate the drug issue without any political influence or interference. One of its other members is Dr. Les King, who is also a former government adviser that chose to quit over the treatment received by Professor Nutt at the hands of the government.
In 2009, Professor Nutt co-authored a report in which he ranked 20 drugs based on their effects on users and society and found that alcohol had the greatest negative impact. Tobacco and cocaine were equally harmful as one another, while ecstasy and LSD were among the least damaging. Also as a result of his report, Nutt lost his job because he did not agree with his government’s decision to re-classify cannabis as something more dangerous than he found it to be.
The report ranked 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm, looking at risks to the user, to the community, and to the society at-large. Members of the committee, along with two other experts, scored each drug for damages, including mental and physical damage, risk of abuse and addiction, crime and costs to the economy and communities.
Heroin, crack and crystal meth were considered to be the worst for individuals, with alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine worst for society, and alcohol the worst drug overall.
Professor Nutt reported the findings to the BBC: “Overall, alcohol is the most harmful drug because it’s so widely used.
“Crack cocaine is more addictive than alcohol but because alcohol is so widely used there are hundreds of thousands of people who crave alcohol every day, and those people will go to extraordinary lengths to get it.”
He said it was important to separate harm to individuals and harm to society.
Nutt added, “In Britain today, alcohol is a leading cause of death in men between the ages of sixteen and fifty, so it is therefore the most harmful drug there is in terms of life expectancy, family disruption and road traffic accidents.
“It all boils down to the question of what are we trying to do when we make drugs illegal – we should be trying to reduce harm for people but in order to decide on whether to make something illegal we need to have a good appreciation of what relative harms are.”
He said his goal is “to understand what the right approach should be, based on the science and evidence.”
Are you struggling with alcohol? Do you find that you are drinking too much and you just can’t stop? Alcoholism is a serious medical condition and help is available. Call an Addiction Specialist toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak to someone directly to get answers. You are not alone.
One street drug that has been growing recently in publicity and popularity has some seriously troubling and lasting side effects on users. The drug referred to as “Molly” or “Ecstasy” is MDMA (short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and is a man-made substance which can include chemicals or additives such as caffeine, dextromethorphan (found in some cough syrups), amphetamines, PCP, or cocaine to be used as substitutions for MDMA in the commonly manufactured tablets it is sold in. Those who actually cook up this narcotic can make it with whatever they want, putting its purity at question, and causing its potential to be lethal to be a high risk factor if mixed with dangerous materials. MDMA has been called a “club drug” due to its popular use at all night parties and in the rave subculture. It has effects similar to those of other stimulants, and it often creates a feeling of euphoric connection to others, even though it comes at a high cost.
Long Term Effects of Molly Use: Biochemical
The long term effects of Molly use have a lot to do with the biochemical effects induced upon people taking the substance, which include serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine release. Long term effects of Molly use can also act directly on a number of receptors. Research on possible long-term effects of Molly use have mainly focused on two areas.
- The first area of long term effect of Molly use is possible serotonergic neurotoxicity, because so much of the effects of MDMA are said to be attributed to the drugs influence on serotonin levels released in the brain.
- The second area is psychiatric and behavioral problems that might result from MDMA use.
In addition to these two main areas of research on long term effects of Molly use, there have been a number of animal studies suggesting MDMA can cause other possible neurological changes, including apoptosis and non-serotonergic neurotoxicity. So in short, using Molly can actually slowly but surely perform its own negatively charged brain-surgery on someone abusing the substance. The only trouble with the exact measurement on the long term effects of Molly use on the brain is that these studies have primarily been performed on animals.
- Some animal studies have shown that high doses of MDMA in non-human primates can cause long-term damage to the serotonin nerves in the brain. The average user takes a smaller and safer dose, but it is possible that the human brain is more susceptible to damage
Long Term Effects of Molly Use: Cognitive Function
Some studies find that repeated MDMA use may lead to subtle changes in learning, memory, attention, mood, and decision making. Long term effects of Molly use is expected to have the most influence on these cognitive function, which primarily refers to things like the ability to learn new information, speech, and reading comprehension. A list of long term effects of Molly use includes the following:
- Long-lasting brain damage affecting thought and memory
- Damage to portions of the brain that regulate critical functions such as learning, sleep and emotion
- Degenerated nerve branches and nerve endings
- Memory loss
- Kidney failure
- Cardiovascular collapse
Over 100 studies on the long term effects of Molly use have found a consistent negative effect on cognitive and psychomotor function (which is the relation between cognitive function and physical movement). Even more troubling is that these long term effects of Molly use appear to be permanent, as those who were users in the past who have been without recent exposure to MDMA showed performance difficulties that were equal to or even exceeded those noted in current users.
While there is some controversy as to the addictive nature of Molly being mental rather than physical, or some dispute if it is even a reality, it is still relevant to understand that due to the nature of how the drugs Molly or Ecstasy are made with so many different chemical combinations the risk of overdose, serious health complications, or death is very much a real factor. Also it is important to consider that one of the obvious long term effects of Molly use is how it disrupts behavior and emotional responses, and how the mind and body correlate those feelings. Long term effects of Molly use can permanently damage the way the mind processes emotions and other chemical reactions in the brain.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
The point of recovery means that you can live a normal, flourishing life without the use of drugs, meaning that you will be able to go about daily life without feeling anxious or fearful about relapsing. You’ll be able to go out with friends, hold down a job, maybe go back to school, and even travel. That said, when in early recovery, having a bad day, or not being spiritually fit, you may want to avoid certain triggers that might kick off the mental obsession and cravings to use. One such trigger for you might be watching a movie that deals with drug use.
Here’s a list of movies that incorporate the use of a substance or multiple substances. This list is definitely not all-inclusive; there are tons of movies out there that include some sort of drug use (remember, alcohol is a drug, too – think of how common it is to see characters in movies drink). Some of these movies involve fictitious drugs but, usually it’s obvious to us what real drug it’s based on. I comprised this list of movies that lean towards gratuitous and/or graphic drug use. I also included movies that tended to glorify or romanticize drug use.
Avoiding Triggers? Don’t Watch These 35 Movies
21 Grams (2003) Cocaine
21 Jump Street (2012) a fictional drug called HFS and marijuana
Almost Famous (2000) LSD, marijuana, Quaaludes and Vicodin
American Psycho (2000) Cannabis, cocaine, Halcion, Xanax, and Ecstasy
Basketball Diaries (1995) cannabis, cocaine, heroin, solvents, and various pills
The Big Lebowski (1998) Cannabis and LSD
Black Snake Moan (2006) Ecstasy and Prescription pills
Blow (2001) Cocaine and marijuana
Boogie Nights (1997) cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine
Brick (2006) Heroin. A cult classic film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Candy (2006) Cannabis and heroin
Casino (1995) Cocaine, heroin and painkillers
Dazed and Confused (1993) Alcohol, cannabis, and LSD
Drugstore Cowboy (1989) Amphetamines, diazepam, heroin, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), oxymorphone (Opana), methamphetamine, and morphine
Easy Rider (1969) Cannabis, cocaine and LSD. A Cult classic with Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda
Friday (1995) Angel Dust (PCP) and marijuana
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) Adrenochrome, amphetamines, amyl nitrite, barbiturates, cannabis, cocaine, ether, heroin, LSD, mescaline, hashish, hash oil, opium, and thorazine
Half Baked (1998) mostly marijuana; cocaine, crack and heroin
The Hangover (2009) GHB, rohypnol
Horrible Bosses (2011) Cocaine and MDMA
Limitless (2011) Fictional drug called ‘NZT48’
Max Payne (2008) Fictional drug called ‘Valkyrie’
Menace II Society (1993) Crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana
My Own Private Idaho (1991) Cocaine
Party Monster (2003). Crack/cocaine, heroin, MDMA, Ketamine (Special K), and LSD
Pineapple Express (2008) Cannabis, reference to oxycodone
Pulp Fiction (1994) Cocaine, heroin, marijuana
Ray (2004) Heroin, marijuana
Requiem for a Dream (2000) amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and MDMA/Ecstasy
Smokin’ Aces (2007) Cocaine
A Scanner Darkly (2006) Cannabis, cocaine, and ‘Substance D,’ a fictional psychoactive stimulant
Scarface (1983) Cocaine, heroin, Quaaludes
Spun (2002) Crystal Meth
Trainspotting (1996) Amphetamines, buprenorphine, methadone, chlormethiazole, codeine, cyclozine, diamorphine, dextromoramide, dextropropoxyphene, hashish, heroin, MDMA, morphine, Nalbuphine, nitrazepam, opium, pentazocine, Pethidine, phenobarbitone, Sodium Amytal , Temazepam, and Valium
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) Cocaine, crack, morphine, Quaaludes, and Xanax
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
We’ve all heard the crazy drug urban legends and may have even believed some of them. Like, if you’ve taken 7 hits of acid in your lifetime, you are considered to be clinically insane. This one’s false, but, there is some drug-related folklore that’s actually true, or in-part true, despite how outrageous the tale seems. Here are the 5 most notorious drug urban legends (that are actually mostly true).
#1: PCP will turn you into a flesh-eating zombie
Terrifyingly enough, this one is mostly true, in that there have been a couple of cases of people using PCP then eating human flesh. You read that right. You may or may not remember the story of Antron Singleton, aka “Big Lurch” – his rapper name.
In 2002, after a nearly week-long PCP binge, Big Lurch was found walking the streets of Los Angeles in the middle of the night, naked, covered in blood and howling at the moon. When authorities went to his apartment, they found his roommate dead “with her lungs torn from her torso, and her body and face covered with …bite marks.” Upon examining Antron’s stomach contents, doctors found it to be “full of human flesh.”
In another disturbing PCP-related case, in 2009, a man ate the eyes of his 4 year old son while high.
#2: Molly is pure MDMA
Many people distinguish between Ecstasy (pill form) and Molly (powder/capsule form) saying that Ecstasy is almost always cut with other substances such as amphetamine, meth, and cocaine among others while molly is purely MDMA. The fact of the matter is that, just because you’ve obtained MDMA in powder form and it was sold to you as ‘Molly,’ that doesn’t mean that it’s pure.
The DEA has said that the purity of Molly is almost a myth because it comes in powder form and can easily be mixed with other drugs, which makes it even more dangerous. In fact, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, meth, and even bath salts have all been found to be mixed in with the supposedly ‘pure’ Molly.
#3: Drug dealers are selling colored and flavored crystal meth and calling it “Strawberry Quick (Quik)”
Emails began circulating back in 2007 and have been seen as recently as 2012 urging parents to beware of a new “tactic” by drug dealers who are targeting children by manufacturing a form of meth that is pink in color and smells and tastes like strawberry. The emails instructed parents to worn their children about accepting candy from strangers or even classmates and stated that there had already been cases across the country of this “Strawberry Quick.”
This notorious drug urban legend is a mixture of truth and myth because, while there are instances in which police have seized colored versions of crystal meth that resemble candy, the part about it being manufactured in this way so as to appeal to children is not true.
“We checked with all of our labs, and there’s nothing to it,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Michael Sanders said. “It’s not a trend or a real problem; I think that this was maybe someone with good intentions but jumped the gun.”
#4: Eating bagels with poppy seeds can cause a false positive for opiates on drug tests
This notorious drug urban legend was featured on an episode on the hit series Seinfeld, in which the character Elaine had eaten a poppy seeded muffin and then failed a drug test at her place of employment. As with every other episode, hilarity ensued. The thing is, this has actually happened in real life.
There are actual documented cases where people have lost their jobs or been turned down for job positions due to ‘dropping dirty’ for opiates on drug screens. It was determined that in these cases, the person had consumed poppy seeded bagels and other such baked goods causing a false positive for opiates.
This one is also a mixture of truth and myth because the federal guidelines for agencies that drug test have since the cut-off level for a positive, in order to eliminate many of the poppy seed-related false positives that were previously occurring. Therefore, it is no longer really a thing you can claim if you were to come up positive for opiates on a drug test.
#5: PCP is embalming fluid that people dip their cigarettes and joints in to achieve a greater high
This one is confusing because the second part of that statement is true but the first half is not. PCP is an intravenous anesthetic that was developed in the ’50s whereas formaldehyde (embalming fluid) is a completely different – and completely toxic – chemical. What confuses the issue is that, perhaps due to the widely-believed notorious urban legend that PCP and formaldehyde are one-in-the-same and therefore some people often mix the two substances together or, skip the PCP altogether, dipping their ‘smokeables’ in just embalming fluid.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.