Death by Drugs: Fatal Celebrity Drug and Alcohol Addictions
In today’s society it seems that celebrities are stuck in a revolving door of drug and alcohol addiction, rehab, recovery – relapse and repeat. But not everyone in the spotlight suffers from substance abuse relapse. Some stars see lasting results from their treatment and successfully continue their lives after recovery. However, many famous people have not been so lucky. Film stars, athletes, artists, writers, musicians - the lives of many talented people have tragically ended after struggling with substance abuse.
Speedball – The Fastest Way to Die
Heroin and cocaine are both dangerous, severely addictive, drugs on their own; however, put them together in the same needle and you get the infamous “speedball”. When used cocaine serves as a stimulant, speeding up the heart rate and giving the user a fast “high”. Sometimes morphine is substituted to achieve a similar result. The effect is short-lived and then heroin kicks in to dramatically slow the heart down. This lethal combination has claimed numerous talents across the board, including actor River Phoenix (brother to Joaquin Phoenix) and former Alice in Chains lead singer and lyricist, Layne Staley.
Chris Farley’s untimely death from speedballing at the age of 33 shocked the entertainment world. The actor was at the height of his comedy career, and was working on several projects that include the lead role for the movie Shrek, when he died.
Neo-impressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat helped shape modern art as dramatically as his friend, Andy Warhol; but he didn’t survive to see the longevity of his impact. He died at age 28 from heroin and cocaine use. Fellow artist and friend Julian Schnabel wrote and directed Basquiat - a star-studded film featuring Jeffery Wright, David Bowie, Gary Oldman, Parker Posey, Benicio Del Toro and Willem Dafoe – to share a vision of his short life story and struggles – including his problems with drug abuse. The works Basquiat painted are worth millions today.
John Belushi rose to fame thanks to his comedic performance in National Lampoon’s Animal House and his acting future looked solid after Blues Brothers. It’s unfortunate his drug abuse spiraled out of hand. His death from speedball abuse was so well-known that his last name, “Belushi” became part of the drug slang for abusing heroin and cocaine at the same time.
Lost to Alcohol Abuse
Whether society likes it or not, alcohol contains ethanol, which is a highly addictive drug. Alcoholism has historically been a problem that has negatively impacted individuals across the globe bringing ruin to their lives, families, and relationships. Not only is excessive alcohol use a bad choice but for thousands of people each year alcohol abuse is deadly.
Florence Ballard (pictured above center) lit up the billboard charts as one of the founding members of The Supremes. Her difficulties with depression and alcohol abuse contributed to her poor health. She died of heart-related problems at the age of 32.
Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones was skilled in many instruments and was a founding member of the revered rock and roll band. However, it was his severe problems with substance abuse and the law that eventually rendered him unreliable. The coroner’s report said a combination of alcohol and drugs were found in his system when he died at 25.
John “Bonzo” Bonham rocked as the drummer for Led Zeppelin. He died at 32 of asphyxiation - he couldn’t breath after inhaling vomiting due to excessive alcohol consumption. The band was unable to continue immediately after his death.
Just a Taste of the Destruction
Sadly, this is only a sampling of the many lives and talents that have been taken from the world due to substance abuse. Drug overdoses, like baseball MVP Ken Caminiti’s cocaine overdose are, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Music icon Jimi Hendrix was reported to have passed on due to barbiturates intoxication. Overdosing on sleeping pills contributed to the deaths of screen legends Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe – and despite the risk of accidental prescription drug overdose that claimed Heath Ledger, prescription drug abuse is still on the rise. Don’t let the talent of a friend or family member be lost forever. If you know anyone who needs substance abuse treatment, contact Northbound Academy Arizona Drug Rehab Centerto get help.