Famous people who died from drugs overdose

Which Celebrities Have Battled with Addiction?

A toxicology report revealed that the singer had overdosed on fentanyl, an extremely potent opioid. A subsequent police investigation indicated that Prince might not have known what was in the medication he took. A number of prescription pills in his home were mislabeled, and the singer had been in possession of pill bottles that bore someone else’s name.

Heath Ledger

The Academy Award-nominated actor reportedly suffered from heroin addiction in the years leading up to his overdose.

Ledger’s former girlfriend and mother of his child, Michelle Williams, forced him to attend rehab in 2007, but on January 22, 2008, Ledger’s body was found by his masseuse in his apartment. The masseuse called Ledger’s close friend Mary-Kate Olsen, who sent security guards to check on him before calling 911.

An autopsy revealed the presence of six drugs in his body, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, alprazolam and temazepam. The report ruled that he died from abuse of prescription medications. All of the drugs were taken below lethal doses, but the combination of the drugs was fatal, according to the medical examiner.

In a 2006 interview with film critic Cole Smithey about his role in the film Candy, Ledger had said: “I mean it’s obviously not just celebrities in rehab, it’s probably a similar statistic to people outside of the industry. But I do think that drugs and alcohol have been glorified and exoticized in such a way that it gets into the art world.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Williams wasn’t the only person who tried to help Ledger. His good friend and fellow actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who mentored several people in recovery, had spent hours counseling Ledger. In a tragic turn of events, Hoffman died of an accidental overdose six years after Ledger.

On February 2, 2014, Hoffman’s body was found in his apartment with a syringe in his arm. The actor, who lived blocks away from Ledger in New York City, died from poly-drug intoxication. A coroner found heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and an amphetamine in his body.

After 23 years of sobriety and countless hours working with recovering addicts, Hoffman relapsed and returned to rehab in 2013. During his life, he was nominated for four Academy Awards and won an Oscar for best actor for his role in “Capote.”

Amy Winehouse

Famous for a song about refusing substance abuse treatment, singer Amy Winehouse died in 2011 after an alcohol overdose. The singer won five Grammys for her “Back to Black” album, led by the hit single “Rehab.”

Winehouse had a history of mental illness. In her 2014 book “Loving Amy: A Mother’s Story,” Winehouse’s mother wrote that her daughter was self-harming at age nine, shoplifting by ten, smoking at 12 and drinking liquor at age 15.

Despite rejecting initial intervention attempts, Winehouse attended rehab in the years before her death. However, she was never able to maintain sobriety or long-term recovery. After being congratulated for winning five Grammys, Winehouse reportedly told her friend: “Jules, this is so boring without drugs.”

Whitney Houston

Dubbed the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records, Whitney Houston had earned two Emmy’s, six Grammy’s and 30 Billboard Music Awards by 2010. However, she died tragically on the night before the 2012 Grammy Awards.

Houston’s body was discovered in the bathroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel submerged in a bathtub. An autopsy reported that she died from drowning, atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use. Cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were found in her body, but the four latter drugs did not contribute to her death, according to the report.

Houston had revealed her history of drug use in interviews with Diane Sawyer in 2002 and Oprah Winfrey in 2009. She had attended outpatient rehab for alcohol and drug addiction in 2011.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe’s death has long been shrouded by limited information and conspiracy theories. The body of the actress and pop culture icon was found by her psychiatrist in her bed around 3:30 a.m. on August 5, 1962.

Around 5:15 p.m. the day before, she had called the psychiatrist and told him she could not sleep. The coroner reported that her death was from an overdose of sleeping pills, more specifically barbiturate intoxication.

The death was also ruled a probable suicide. Accidental death was ruled out because the amount of drugs in her system was much higher than the lethal dosage. Monroe had suffered from frantic mood changes and severe depression in the years leading up to her death, and there was no indication of foul play.

Elvis Presley

The King of Rock and Roll was in poor health, bedridden, weighing about 350 pounds and requiring nursing care near the end of his life. Several sources have debated and scrutinized the details and ruling of his death. The coroner wrote that he died of natural causes on his death certificate.

Thus, Presley officially died from hypertensive cardiovascular disease with atherosclerotic heart disease, also known as a heart attack. However, a toxicology report revealed that he had 10 prescription medications his body when he died, including codeine at 10 times the therapeutic level.

Presley’s body was found in the bathroom of his mansion at Graceland on August 16, 1977. An ambulance took him to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was pronounced dead. During his life, he won three Grammy’s and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the best-selling solo artist of all-time.

Jimi Hendrix

Dubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the greatest instrumentalists in the history of rock, Hendrix had a well-known history of drug use. His exhaustion from regular drug abuse, pressures of stardom and fatigue from touring were noticeable in his last performances.

On September 18, 1970, Hendrix consumed nine sleeping pills prescribed to his girlfriend, Monika Dannemann’s Vesparax. Dannemann awoke the next day to find Hendrix unresponsive and barely breathing. She called an ambulance, but Hendrix was announced dead less than two hours later at St. Mary Abbott’s Hospital in London. The cause of death was ruled suffocation from inhaling vomit because of barbiturate intoxication.

Hendrix was one of the original members of the infamous 27 Club, coined after singers Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Hendrix each died at the age of 27 between 1969 and 1971 from drug-related deaths.

Hendrix was nonchalant about his drug use in the years before his death. He once said: “I tell you, when I die I’m going to have a jam session. I want people to go wild and freak out. And knowing me, I’ll probably get busted at my own funeral.”

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Celebrities Who Survived Drug Overdoses

Drug overdoses aren’t always fatal. Sometimes they are blessings in disguise, a wake-up call for individuals suffering from addiction. Several stars have experienced drug overdoses, and many say the experience helped them get their lives back on track.

Burt Reynolds

The award-winning actor suffered from Halcion addiction during the 1980s after he was prescribed the drug following a jaw injury in 1984. He was taking as many as 50 pills a day before he tried to quit cold turkey.

The withdrawal from Halcion was so severe that he was transported to a Los Angeles hospital where doctors told his wife to say her final goodbyes as Reynolds struggled to maintain consciousness. However, he regained consciousness after about seven hours and eventually recovered.

Later in life, Reynolds succumbed to an addiction to prescription painkillers after taking the drugs following back surgery. He entered rehab in 2009.

Nikki Sixx

The songwriter and bassist for Mötley Crüe was known for partying and using drugs throughout the band’s height of success in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

“I threw myself headlong into music and that lifestyle,” Sixx said in a 2014 interview. “I never really figured I’d get out of the other side. A few years later, when I got sober and was able to become a father and have a family, that was when some of the greatest lessons came.”

Sixx overdosed on heroin in 1987 after a party. He was reportedly declared dead, and his heart had stopped for two minutes before paramedics revived him with two shots of adrenaline. The experience led members of the band to agree to stop using heroin, according to Sixx’s memoir “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star.”

Sixx is sober today, and in 2014 he said, “I love it. I have a zest for life and I love the idea that I go home to my family and my wife and they understand me… I had a time, and what a time it was, but this surpasses it a thousand fold. I love stability, because what swirls around me is insanity.”


The three-time Grammy award-winning singer overdosed on Thanksgiving Day in 1995 after using ecstasy, crystal meth and acid for years. The experience changed her life, and she claims she never used drugs again afterward.

“It wasn’t to the point of going to the hospital, but I remember getting up off the floor in the morning — and that was the last time I ever touched a drug again,” Pink said in a 2012 interview.

The actress played a recovering sex addict in the indie film “Thanks for Sharing.” She said she took the role because she understood addiction and she believed it would help someone.


Eminem has told his life story to the public through the lyrics of his songs, and he’s never been shy about sharing the dirty details of the struggles he’s faced.

“It’s no secret I had a drug problem,” he said in a 2009 interview. “If I was to give you a number of Vicodin I would actually take in a day? Anywhere between 10 to 20. Valium, Ambien, the numbers got so high I don’t even know what I was taking.”

After a doctor refused to prescribe him painkillers following a knee surgery, Eminem went home to find Vicodin that he’d hidden from himself years before. In 2007 he overdosed.

“They said if I would’ve gotten to the hospital two hours later, that would have been it,” Eminem said in 2010. “Because my organs, my kidneys were failing, everything was shutting down.”

The artist released albums titled “Relapse” and “Recovery” in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The latter was aimed at helping others struggling with life’s difficulties. “I do feel like if I can help people who have been through a similar situation, then why not,” he said in 2010.

Addiction has affected some of the greatest entertainers of all time. It’s taken the lives of cultural icons and devastated fans across the world. However, some have overcome addiction and inspired others by proving that recovery is possible.

Author Senior Content Writer, DrugRehab.com Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication. @ChrisTheCritic9

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Amarah’s Corner: Famous people who died of drug overdose

1. Michael Jackson

Age: 50

Year: 2009

Cause of death: acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication.

2. Whitney Houston

Age: 48

Year: 2012

Cause of death: cocaine, drowning.

3. Heath Ledger

Age: 28

Year: 2008

Cause of death: acute intoxication by combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Age: 46

Year: 2014

Cause of death: acute intoxication by heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and benzodiazepines.

5. Amy Winehouse

Age: 27

Year: 2011

Cause of death: alcohol poisoning.

6. Anna Nicole Smith

Age: 39

Year: 2007

Cause of death: acute combined drug intoxication from Methadone, chloral hydrate and three different drugs used to treat depression and anxiety.

7. Chris Farley

Age: 33

Year: 1997

Cause of death: cocaine and morphine overdose.

8. River Phoenix

Age: 23

Year: 1993

Cause of death: cocaine and heroin overdose.

9. John Belushi

Age: 33

Year: 1982

Cause of death: cocaine and heroin overdose.

10. Janis Joplin

Age: 27

Year: 1970

Cause of death: heroin overdose.

11. Jimi Hendrix

Age: 27

Year: 1970

Cause of death: barbiturate intoxication.

12. Cory Monteith

Age: 31

Year: 2013

Cause of death: mixed drug toxicity, including heroin and alcohol.

13. Scott Weiland

Age: 48

Year: 2015

Cause of death: toxic mix of drugs including cocaine, ethanol and amphetamine.

14. Elvis Presley

Age: 42

Year: 1977

Cause of death: high levels of pharmaceutical painkillers such as Dilaudid, Quaalude, Percodan, Demerol, and codeine.

15. Brittany Murphy (Clueless)

Age: 32

Year: 2009

Cause of death: multiple drug intoxication.

16. Judy Garland (Wizard of Oz)

Age 47


Cause of death: alcohol, drug addiction and barbiturate overdose.

17. Edie Sedgwick (American heiress, socialite, actress, and fashion model)

Age: 28

Year: 1971

Cause of death: potent mix of barbiturates and alcohol.

18. Farrah Fawcett

Age: 62

Year: 2009

Cause of death: cancer, drug & alcohol addiction.

19. Dana Plato (Kimberly Drummond on Diff’rent Strokes)

Age: 34

Year: 1999

Cause of death: prescription drug overdose.

20. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana front-man and long-time heroin abuser)

Age: 27

Year: 1994

Cause of death: morphine, valium and heroin were in his bloodstream at the time of death.

21. Mary Anissa Jones (child actress, Buffy on sitcom Family Affair)

Age: 18

Year: 1976

Cause of death: combined drug intoxication.

22. Lani O’Grady (Mary, Eight is Enough)

Age: 46

Year: 2001

Cause of death: vicodin and prozac.

23. Bridgette Andersen (Child actress, Savannah Smiles)

Age: 21

Year: 1997

Cause of death: opioid overdose.

24. Jackson Odell (Ari Caldwell, The Goldbergs)

Age: 20

Year: 2018

Cause of death: cocaine and heroin overdose.

25. Max Cantor (Dirty Dancing)

Age: 32

Year: 1991

Cause of death: injection of pure heroin

26. Lenny Bruce

Age: 41


Cause of death: acute morphine poisoning caused by overdose.

27. Truman Capote

Age: 59


Cause of death: multiple drug intoxication.

28. Hank Williams

Age: 30

Year: 1953

Cause of death: alcohol, morphine and chloral hydrate.

29. Bon Scott (lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC)

Age: 34

Year: 1980

Cause of death: acute alcohol poisoning and suspected heroin overdose (no autopsy performed).

30. Brian Epstein (Manager of The Beatles)

Age: 32


Cause of death: addiction to amphetamines, overdose of barbiturate/sleeping pills.

31. Prince (musician, singer, songwriter)

Age: 57

Year: 2016

Cause of death: fentanyl overdose.

32. Jim Morrison (lead singer of The Doors)

Age: 28

Year: 1971

Cause of death: alcohol dependency & heart failure.

33. Ashleigh Aston Moore (Chrissy in Now and Then, 1995)

Age: 26

Year: 2007

Cause of death: heroin overdose.

34. Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Film director, screenwriter, and actor)

Age: 37

Year: 1982

Cause of death: lethal cocktail of cocaine and barbiturates.

35. Bam Bam Bigelow (Professional wrestler)

Age: 45

Year: 2007

Cause of death: multiple drugs, including toxic levels of cocaine, and an anti-anxiety drug.

36. Phil Lynott (musician, singer/songwriter-The Boys are Back in Town. Founding member of rock group, Thin Lizzy).

Age: 37

Year: 1987

Cause of death: drug-related problems and heroin.

37. Dinah Washington (Singer and pianist)

Age: 39

Year: 1963

Cause of death: lethal combination of secobarbital and amobarbital.

38. Robert Pastorelli (Eldin Bernecky, painter on Murphy Brown)

Age: 50

Year: 2004

Cause of death: heroin overdose.

39. Keith Moon (Drummer with English rock band, The Who)

Age: 32

Year: 1978

Cause of death: alcoholism and overdose of Heminevrin, a drug intended to treat or prevent symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

40. John Entwistle (English musician, songwriter, singer, film and music producer, best known as bass guitarist for English rock band, The Who).

Age: 58

Year: 2002

Cause of death: cocaine overdose.

41. David Ruffin (Soul singer & musician: one of the lead singers of The Temptations)

Age: 50

Year: 1991

Cause of death: cocaine.

Retrieved from https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-people-who-died-of-drug-overdose/reference

The world has lost too many precious souls to drug addiction and alcohol abuse leaving millions of people, including ‘kids like me,’ in mourning.

Remember, Jesus Loves You and Jesus is Lord!


1. River Phoenix

River Jude Phoenix was an American actor, who was best-known for starring in the film Stand by Me. He also earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Running on Empty. Phoenix was a vegan, environmentalist and animal rights activist. He was the older brother of Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Summer Phoenix, and Liberty Phoenix.

Born: August 23, 1970

Died: October 31, 1993

Age at death: 23

Cause of death: Phoenix collapsed and died of a combined drug intoxication following a drug overdose on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room (owned by Johnny Depp).


2. Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was a world-famous jazz, blues, and soul singer. The British, six-time Grammy winner had been tabloid fodder for years. Unfortunately the Back to Black singer’s talents were often overshadowed by her personal life, which was filled with drug addiction and erratic behavior.

Born: September 14, 1983

Died: July 23, 2011, age 27

Age at death: 27

Cause of death: Accidental alcohol poisoning, illegal drugs were ruled out.


3. Heath Ledger

The Australian Home And Away actor rose to fame in 1999 when he starred in 10 Things I Hate About You.

He became one of the youngest people ever nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Brokeback Mountain. Shortly after portraying the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger died from an accidental drug overdose. He posthumously received the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role.

Heath Ledger tragically died at the age of 27 from an accidental prescription drug overdose. He had been in the middle of filming his final movie “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” His friends Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell finished up the movie and donated their salary to Ledger’s daughter.

Born: April 4, 1979,

Died: January 22, 2008

Age at death: 28

Cause of death: An accidental toxic combination of prescription drugs.


4. Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith was best known as Finn Hudson in Glee and for dating his co-star Lea Michele. The actor started abusing substances at the age of 13. After an intervention by family and friends, he entered drug rehabilitation at age 19. In March 2013, he again sought treatment for addiction and just four months later he was found dead.

Born: May 11, 1982

Died: July 13, 2013

Age at death: 31

Cause of death: He died of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room.


5. Brittany Murphy

Brittany Murphy died in December 2009 at the age of 32, with the cause of death still under debate. She was in numerous movies, including “Girl, Interrupted,” “8 Mile,” and “Sin City,” and did a lot of voice work, including in the Fox series “King of the Hill.” Despite rumors of drug use, pneumonia and a lack of iron was listed as the official cause of death. When her boyfriend died at the same house of the same causes five months later, toxic mold was introduced as a possible culprit. No final conclusions were reached in either case. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The actress, who first burst on the scene for playing Tai Frasier in “Clueless,” died of complications from pneumonia and multiple drug intoxication. She was only 32.

Born: November 10, 1977

Died: December 20, 2009

Age at death: 32

Cause of death:


6. Aaliyah

R&B singer and actress Aaliyah was best-known for hits such as, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number and Are You That Somebody?

Born: January 16, 1979

Died: August 25, 2001

Age at death: 22

Cause of death: Aaliyah died when a small plane that was to carry her and eight others back to the United States crashed after takeoff in the Bahamas.


7. Tupac

Tupac Amaru Shakur was just 25 when he was killed in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. The celebrated rapper had already released five studio albums, served time for a sexual abuse conviction and survived a previous shooting during a robbery.

Born: June 16, 1971

Died: September 13, 1996

Age at death: 25

Cause of death: Tupac died six days after an unknown gunman in a white Cadillac shot him four times in the chest at a stoplight in Las Vegas.


8. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain ushered in a new era in rock in the early ‘90s with his band Nirvana. But fame was never his intention, and it seemed to add to his suffering, brought on by depression, chronic bronchitis and heroin addiction. He died at 27 of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band Nirvana. He is remembered as one of the most iconic and influential rock musicians in the history of alternative music.

Kurt Cobain had a long battle with heroin addiction, but he died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. He was 27 years old

Born: February 20, 1967

Died: April 5, 1994

Age at death: 27

Cause of death: Died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound while intoxicated.

Famous People Who Have Been Addicted to Opiates

Famous People Who Have Been Addicted to Opiates

On This Page:

  • Famous Opium Users
  • Famous Heroin Users
  • Famous Painkiller Users

Throughout the past hundred-plus years, a variety of famous people have battled addiction to opiates. Whether their drug of choice was heroin, Vicodin, or even opium itself, these celebrities often paid a terrible price for their addiction. Some maintained their drug addiction privately, others were branded as addicts before the world’s eyes, while for others, their addiction cost them their lives.

Famous Opium Users

Marcus Aurelius – The Roman Emperor initially used the drug for medicinal purposes, but likely became addicted to it at some point during his reign over Rome.

Charles Dickens -The author of A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol was addicted to opium for many years and used the drug heavily right up to the time of his death (by massive stroke).

Bela Lugosi -The star of hundreds of early horror films was a frequenter of several underground opium dens and also used morphine excessively during his life.

Florence Nightengale – It was discovered after her death that the most famous nurse who ever lived was a notorious opium user.

Famous Heroin Users

John Belushi -One of the greatest comedians of his generation, Belushi died of an accidental overdose on a powerful speedball -a dangerous mixture of heroin and cocaine.

Kurt Cobain -Lead singer of the band Nirvana, Cobain used heroin to escape from the stress brought on by sudden fame. Eventually, he would succumb not to an overdose, but a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Washington home.

Janis Joplin -The iconic singer of the 1960’s was a major heroin user. She was forced to cancel shows often because she was too heavily under the influence to take the stage.

Billie Holiday -Arguably one of the greatest torch song singers who ever lived, Holiday was never able to overcome her addiction to heroin. Also used opium while on the road appearing in sold-out concerts.

River Phoenix -The up-and-coming young actor died of a heroin-speedball overdose outside The Viper Room nightclub in Hollywood. Phoenix was on his way to becoming a true A-list star in the film industry when he died.

Famous Painkiller Users

Rush Limbaugh -After rumors would not subsist, the conservative talk show host was forced to admit he had a severe prescription drug addiction, including OxyContin and Vicodin.

Carrie Fisher -Screenwriter and Star Wars Trilogy star Fisher admitted in her autobiography that she had abused prescription painkillers repeatedly throughout her long and illustrious career.

Elvis Presley -The King of Rock and Roll died in the mid 1970’s from a drug overdose. An autopsy later found massive amounts of various prescription painkillers in his system when he died at his Graceland home.

Michael’s House treats all their patients with the same dedication and care. Everyone who enters an opiate addiction care program at Michael’s House receives a personalized treatment program designed to help them overcome their opiate addiction and begin life anew with a clean mind, healthy body and an enriched spirit.

Contact Michael’s House today at 760-548-4032 for more information about their proven-successful residential drug rehab programs.

3 Photo: Kara Murphy/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

In 2003, Courtney Love was apprehended for breaking several of her neighbor’s windows. She was booked for being under the influence of a controlled substance, then released. Courtney Love’s daughter, Francis Bean, was removed from her custody – and Love fought a very public battle to regain her. Love gave an interview to People magazine and in it said that after being released from police custody she when home and took at least 20 mg of Oxy “to be knocked out.”

When Love got sick, Frances made her green tea and kept her company, along with a nanny, until an ambulance came. “That’s the only time my daughter has ever, ever, ever pitched in on one of my little crises,” Love says. “I made it fun. I said it was going to be gross and I was going to have to make myself throw up, but it was going to be okay.”

According to an L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services report, Frances stated at the time that she was “scared but knew her mother would be okay after they pumped her stomach.”

Age: 54

Birthplace: San Francisco, California, Contiguous United States, San Francisco Bay Area, United States of America, + more

Prescription Drug Addiction: Rise Endangers Celebrities, Teens, and Us

Heath Ledger, in his last role as The Joker, filmed as he struggled with multi-drug addiction.

Would it surprise you to learn that prescription drug overdoses now kill more people than car accidents? Somehow that message doesn’t seem to be getting out, says the CDC, which now calls prescription drug abuse an epidemic.

Over the past 20 years, the death rate from drug overdoses has tripled, CDC data show, with prescription painkillers the reason for much of that rise. In 2008 there were 36,000 overdose deaths, almost all of which were from prescription painkillers.

The growth rate is pretty shocking; in 2010 (the last year the CDC has data for), 2 million people reported that they had begun to use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes within the past year. That, says the CDC, comes out to 5,500 a day. The number of people seeking treatment for prescription painkillers rose 400 percent between 2004 and 2008.

Because they can so handily be “borrowed” from friends and family, and because — being technically legal – they seem innocent, prescription drugs are becoming frighteningly popular with teens, experts say. According to the FDA, one in seven teenagers admits to abusing prescription drugs to get high in the past year, and prescription painkillers are now teenagers’ top choice after alcohol and pot. The problem is, teenagers are unlikely to understand how highly addictive these drugs are. After all, if mom takes them for her knee injury, they can’t be that big a deal, right?

The “Heath Ledger Effect” – Death from Multi-Drug Abuse

“Abuse of prescription medications” was the final conclusion of the New York Medical Examiner based on Heath Ledger’s autopsy and toxicological analysis. What was found in his system? An entire drugstore of downers: oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine. While swallowing half the contents of the medicine cabinet may be rare, the overall phenomena — mixing several central nervous system depressants — is becoming more and more common.

What’s particularly scary is that while some folks are certainly doing it on purpose, many others are endangering themselves unknowingly. The list of prescription medicines that depress the central nervous system is long. By far the worst offenders are the opioid painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone (Oxycontin and Vicodin). But there are many others that are commonly prescribed including sleep aids, both prescription and OTC, anti-anxiety drugs, even antihistamines. (Diphenhydramine, commonly known as Benadryl, for example).

This photograph of Macaulay Culkin, shot in NYC in February 2012, has been widely used to suggest… the former child actor is in bad shape.

Each of these drugs slows heart rate and breathing; combine them unwittingly and you can stop breathing altogether. Add alcohol – also a central nervous system depressant — to one or more of these drugs, and you can slide into a coma while you sleep.

Sadly, Heath’s celebrity entourage is growing. Stories of addiction to Oxycontin, Vicodin, and other prescription painkillers, or of mixing those drugs with anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids, and other nervous system depressants are dogging numerous celebrities right now.

Who’s Telling the Truth? Macaulay Culkin or the National Enquirer?

When the National Enquirer published a story claiming that Macaulay Culkin is addicted to heroin and several prescription painkillers including Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet, the actor’s press rep denied the story as “categorically without merit” and “impossibly and ridiculously fictitious.” The report was based entirely on anonymous sources “close to Culkin” who claimed Culkin has already suffered dangerous overdoses and who expressed fear for his life if he doesn’t enter rehab soon.

There is, however, some credible reason for concern that Culkin has been battling drugs. In 2004 he was busted for marijuana in Okalhoma and found to be carrying several prescription drugs (some of the same drugs he’s reported to be addicted to today). He pled guilty the following year.

In February of this year, he was photographed in New York looking terribly gaunt and unkempt as he greeted fans. He had just pulled out of a monthly gig as a deejay at the hip West Village club Le Poisson Rouge. Two weeks later, he was photographed outside Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont looking less skeletal but bent over and clutching his stomach, as if ill.

In the past two years, Culkin has been spending a lot of time with musician Adam Green, originally of the “anti-folk” band the Moldy Peaches. even touring with him. Last year Culkin appeared with Green and and fellow musician Pete Doherty in Green’s film The Wrong Ferrari, a weird, low-budget fantasy (filmed entirely on an iPhone) that Green said was drug-fueled. The drug Green named was ketamine, a horse tranquilizer that isn’t available via doctor but is prescribed by vets.

Before that, Culkin had worked very little; in 2010 he had a role in The Park, an online series, and in 2009 he guest starred in the NBC show Kings. Before that he last worked in the straight-to-video Sex and Breakfast and voiced several roles in the internet serial Robot Chicken.

Recently, Culkin appeared considerably healthier in a photo taken when he was shopping in his SoHo neighborhood. The Enquirer has issued a defense of their story, urging Culkin to seek treatment and suggesting he volunteer for a drug test.

The Enquirer’s statement mentions the death of Culkin’s close friend Elijah Rosello in connection with the tabloid’s story. Rosello died on March 19th from a drug overdose and according to the Enquirer her family charged she had done drugs with Culkin prior to her death.

Why Celebrity Oxycontin and Vicodin Charges Disappear

Ask a lawyer, and you’ll hear that because prescription drugs are indeed legal if you have a prescription, it’s much more challenging to make possession charges stick. A case in point was actor Gary Lourdan, formerly of CSI, who was arrested for Oxycontin possession last winter after a car accident. The charges were later dropped, as they often are when authorities can’t prove the possessor didn’t have a valid prescription.

Lindsay Lohan’s battles have received so much attention it’s hard to sort fact from exaggeration. But while alcohol has played the largest role in her many busts and trips to rehab, prescription painkillers have been mentioned too. In 2007, her father – himself a recovering alcoholic – spoke to national media, pleading with Lohan to get help for Oxycontin addiction. Another former child starlet, Amanda Bynes, has recently begun having her own troubles with driving and the law, swideswiping a police car. It was her second accident in quick succession. Bynes refused to take a breathalyzer or drug test at the scene so it’s hard to draw conclusions at this point.

In 2007, the spotlight of “younger generation” prescription drug addiction fell on Al Gore III, son of former Vice President Al Gore, when he was arrested for illegal possession of Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, and Adderall as well as marijuana. He pled guilty and went into rehab.

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Celebrity Overdose Deaths: What We Can Learn from Them

We see it on the news and hear various speculations before anything is confirmed.

Over 70,200 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2017 alone and celebrities are no exception.1 Celebrity overdoses are a sad, but eye-opening event. While we should certainly mourn these lost stars, we can also learn from them.

Celebrities Who Died of Drug Overdoses

At Seaside Palm Beach, we know that drug overdoses can happen to anyone, including those in the spotlight. Our list of celebrities who died of overdose might just surprise you.

Amy Winehouse

First on our list of celebrity overdoses is Amy Winehouse who famously sang that she won’t go to rehab. This decision may have cost Amy her life. At the young age of 27, Amy died of alcohol poisoning. She also had a history of using illicit drugs like heroin, crack, cocaine, as well as smoking weed. While Amy tried and failed to become sober on her own, she neglected to get the professional addiction treatment that she needed.

Heath Ledger

At just 28, this Australian actor was found dead in his New York City apartment in 2008. After further investigation, the death was found to be an accident from an overdose of various prescription drugs. Looking back, it has been revealed the Heath’s fame was taking a toll on his mental health. Specifically, his role playing The Joker was said to keep him up at night.2 Struggling with how to cope, he often took sleeping pills, but in combination with other abused drugs, this led to a deadly combination. Holistic addiction treatment may have been able to help him address all of these issues.

Marilyn Monroe

Famous for her white dress and subway scene, this American icon had some dark secrets hidden underneath her beautiful exterior. She was found dead in her home in Los Angeles from an overdose of sedative drugs that she had been taking for depression. The death is a suspected suicide. Although she had contact with a psychiatrist, her depression, substance abuse, health problems, and possible bipolar disorder was too much for her.3 With proper dual diagnosis treatment including a mental health program and substance abuse help, Marilyn’s death may have been prevented.

Mac Miller

This late rapper struggled with substance abuse throughout his life. His fame seemed to exacerbate his issues when he began to experience depression and took various drugs to cope with his poor mental health. Eventually, Mac Miller died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, alcohol, and cocaine. While he did attempt to remain sober, Miller frequently relapsed. Relapses can happen, but it is important to learn ways to prevent such instances and to avoid common drug triggers.

It is important to learn from these celebrity overdoses to better understand how dangerous addiction can be. Like most overdoses, these deaths are preventable. One good way to prevent this from happening to you or your loved one is to go to a luxury rehab that will help you overcome your addiction problems.

We create a comprehensive healing process to address the entire destruction left behind by your addiction. Whether you are struggling yourself from substance abuse or you are witnessing a suffering loved one, do not wait to get help. To learn more about our West Palm Beach rehab and how to start your sobriety journey, reach out to us at 888-280-4763.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse- Overdose Death Rates
  2. People- The Dark Knight Turns 10: How the Joker Took a Toll on Heath Ledger Before His Death at 28
  3. PBS- Column: Marilyn Monroe and the prescription drugs that killed her

Recent Celebrity Deaths from Overdoses

Celebrities are just as susceptible to drug addiction and overdose as anyone else. Additionally, celebrities abuse drugs and alcohol for many of the same reasons as others, such as to cope with stress, relieve physical pain, and to mask symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

Many well-known celebrities, including Robert Downey Jr., Drew Barrymore, and Trent Reznor have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction in the past, but were able to successfully overcome their substance use disorders at drug and alcohol rehab. Unfortunately, some celebrities fail to get the help they need before suffering fatal overdoses.

Below are celebrities who recently died from a drug overdose in 2017 and 2018. If you need help recovering from a substance use disorder, get help at an alcohol or drug rehab facility today to avoid following in their footsteps.

Best known for his acting roles in the television shows The Goldbergs and Modern Family, Odell was only 20 when he died from an accidental drug overdose. Odell had been in a sober living home in San Fernando, California for three weeks when he was found unresponsive on June 8, 2018. The toxicology report found that the actor had heroin and cocaine in his system at the time of death.

The combination of heroin and cocaine is known as a speedball — a deadly combination that has killed other celebrities in the past, including John Belushi and Chris Farley. Speedballs commonly cause respiratory failure due to the way the stimulating effects of cocaine wear off more quickly than heroin, slowing or stopping respiration and increasing the risk of death.

Art Bell

Bell was best known as the late-night radio host of a show called “Coast to Coast AM” on which he regularly discussed UFOs, alien encounters, and crop circles. Bell was 72 years old when he died on April 13, 2018 in his home in Pahrump, Nevada from an accidental overdose. Toxicology reports conducted on Bell revealed that the radio host had four prescription drugs in his system at the time of death: oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, and carisoprodol.

Opioids paired with benzodiazepines can be a deadly drug combination due to the way both drugs cause sedation and suppress breathing. Studies suggest that the overdose death rate among people who use both medications is 10 times higher than among those who only use opioids.

Lil Peep

Lil Peep was the stage name for an American singer and rapper named Gustav Elijah Åhr. The artist was only 21 years old when he died from an accidental drug overdose on November 15, 2017 prior to performing at a concert in Tucson, Arizona. There were multiple drugs in Lil Peep’s body at the time of his death, including cocaine, marijuana, and a number of prescription painkillers, though the medical examiner’s report revealed that the overdose was caused by fentanyl and alprazolam.

Fentanyl is an opioid up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Nearly half of all opioid-related deaths in the United States are caused by fentanyl.

Tom Petty

Petty was an American singer and songwriter best known for his time as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as well as for his hit singles Free Fallin, I Won’t Back Down, and You Don’t Know How It Feels. Petty died on October 2, 2017 at the age of 66 from an accidental drug overdose.

Initially, the coroner’s report cited Petty’s cause of death as cardiac arrest and organ failure, but later toxicology reports revealed the singer’s death was caused by a number of medications, including fentanyl, oxycodone, alprazolam, temazepam, and an antidepressant called citalopram. Earlier in his life, Petty received treatment at drug detox and rehab centers for heroin addiction.

Preventing a Deadly Overdose with Drug Rehab

There were more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017 — nearly half of which were caused by the deadly opioid fentanyl. However, going to drug rehab can significantly lower your risk for a fatal overdose by helping you overcome drug dependence and addiction.

Addiction can be safely and effectively treated using drug and alcohol detox, along with therapies like support groups and cognitive behavioral therapy. Detox helps you overcome physical drug dependence, while therapy helps you overcome psychological addiction. Getting help for your addiction today can allow you to experience a safe, successful recovery with a lowered risk for relapse and overdose.

Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids Drug Overdose Deaths

Figure 1: Recent Trends

In 2016, synthetic opioids (primarily illegal fentanyl) passed prescription opioids as the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the United States.

In 2016, synthetic opioids were involved in nearly 50% (19,413) of opioid-related deaths, up from 14% (3,007) in 2010.

*This infographic summarizes mortality data from 2010-2016. Please note, 15 to 25 percent of death certificates analyzed did not indicate the type of drug involved in the overdose. This was because drug tests were not conducted or there was a failure to record test results on death certificates.

Figure 2: Synthetic Opioids Linked to Overdose Deaths with Other Substances

In 2016, 42,249 drug overdose deaths involved opioids. Of those, 45.9% involved synthetic opioids. 17,087 overdose deaths involved prescription opioids. Of those, 23.7% involved synthetic opioids. 15,469 overdose deaths heroin. Of those, 37.4% involved synthetic opioids. 10,375 overdose deaths involved cocaine. Of those, 40.3% involved synthetic opioids. 7,542 overdose deaths involved psychostimulants. Of those, 13.8% involved synthetic opioids. 10,684 overdose deaths involved benzodiazepines. Of those, 31.0% involved synthetic opioids. 4,812 overdose deaths involved antidepressants. Of those, 20.8% involved synthetic opioids. 1,877 overdose deaths involved antipsychotics and neuroleptics. Of those, 20.5% involved synthetic opioids. 409 overdose deaths involved barbiturates. Of those, 21.5% involved synthetic opioids. 543 overdose deaths involved other illicit drugs. Of those, 26.5% involved synthetic opioids.

*Deaths are not mutually exclusive. Deaths involving more than one drug or drug class are counted multiple times.

Figure 3: Type of Opioid Involved in Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

Among the 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016, 19,413 involved synthetic opioids, 17,087 involved prescription opioids, and 15,469 involved heroin.

*Deaths are not mutually exclusive. Deaths involving more than one drug or drug class are counted multiple times.

Figure 4: HHS Response to the Opioid Crisis

HHS is committed to:

  1. improving access to treatment and recovery services
  2. promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  4. providing supporting for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  5. advancing better practices for pain management

For more information about finding treatment for yourself or a loved one, visit drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment.

This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Celebrities who have died from addiction


Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office said Thursday. The 57-year-old musician joins a lengthy list of celebrities who have died as a result of substance addiction.

1. Michael Jackson

Age: 50

Year of death: 2009

Cause of death: Acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication

2. Whitney Houston

Age: 48

Year of death: 2012

Cause of death: Cocaine, heart disease, drowning

3. Heath Ledger

Age: 28

Year of death: 2008

Cause of death: Acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Age: 46

Year of death: 2014

Cause of death: Acute intoxication by heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and benzodiazepines

5. Amy Winehouse

Age: 27

Year of death: 2011

Cause of death: Alcohol poisoning

6. Anna Nicole Smith

Age: 39

Year of death: 2007

Cause of death: Acute combined drug intoxication from Methadone, chloral hydrate and three different drugs used to treat depression and anxiety

7. Chris Farley

Age: 33

Year of death: 1997

Cause of death: Cocaine and morphine overdose

8. River Phoenix

Age: 23

Year of death: 1993

Cause of death: Cocaine and heroin overdose

9. John Belushi

Age: 33

Year of death: 1982

Cause of death: Cocaine and heroin overdose

10. Janis Joplin

Age: 27

Year of death: 1970

Cause of death: Heroin overdose

11. Jimi Hendrix

Age: 27

Year of death: 1970

Cause of death: Barbiturate intoxication

12. Cory Monteith

Age: 31

Year of death: 2013

Cause of death: Mixed drug toxicity, including heroin and alcohol

13. Scott Weiland

Age: 48

Year of death: 2015

Cause of death: A toxic mix of drugs including cocaine, ethanol and the amphetamine MDA

14. Elvis Presley

Age: 42

Year of death: 1977

Cause of death: Officially attributed to cardiac arrhythmia, but toxicology results identified 14 drugs in his system, including codeine, methaqualone, morphine, meperidine, ethchlorvynol, diazepam and barbiturates

Actors Who Have Died of an Overdose

Actors really influence us through the work that they do. So when they die, it can hit the public very hard. Sadly we have a lot of our favorites die due to drug overdose. Many of those actors started out as child stars and had their lives cut short. But there are more that have come to fame at a later time in their lives. Here are 10 actors who have died tragically of an overdose.

1. Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967–2014)

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote | Source: Sony Pictures Classics

The actor was undoubtedly talented. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in The Master, Doubt, and Charlie Wilson’s War. He finally won by portraying the famous author in Capote in 2005. He was not only in critically acclaimed movies. He was also still making blockbusters like The Hunger Games saga before he died. His last picture happened to be the last installment of the franchise. That’s why when news of his death came out, many fans were shocked and heartbroken.

Hoffman died of an accidental overdose of heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and amphetamine according to New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner. Mixing heroin and cocaine is known as “speed-balling” and can be deadly. His body was found on February 2 in his bathroom of his New York apartment with a syringe still in his forearm, according to Los Angeles Times. There were also 70 bags of heroin and 20 syringes found in his apartment, according to Daily Mail.

The actor had a history of struggling with addiction. Less than a year before his death he went to rehab after relapsing. He was previously clean for 23 years. He reportedly went back to using at an after party in 2012 for his movie, The Master.

2. Cory Monteith (1982–2013)

Cory Monteith | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The majority of the young actor’s work was on television. He played Charlie Tanner on Kyle XY and Gunnar in Kaya. But he wasn’t a household name until he made it on Glee. There he was Finn Hudson, a cute football player who seemed too cool to join the Glee club until many people started joining. One of the main story lines of the show was his romance with drama nerd Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele). The show was a huge hit with a big following so it was surprising to the world when Monteith’s death was announced.

The actor was found dead in a hotel room in British Colombia, Vancouver on July 13. According to coroners his death was caused by a mix of heroin and alcohol at the young age of 31, according to CNN. Investigators found a spoon, drug residue, a hypodermic needle, and two empty champagne bottles at the scene, according to Celebuzz. The death was ruled as an accident.

Monteith voluntarily checked himself into rehab two months before his death for substance addiction. He also went to rehab when he was 19, so he had been struggling for years. His death broke many hearts including that of Lea Michele, his costar and real life girlfriend. The show did kill off his character and gave him a memorial.

“I feel like, for me personally, I lost two people: Cory and Finn,” Lea Michele told TV Week. “We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium and some of the cast members sang; people spoke about him. It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic.”

3. Judy Garland (1922–1969)

The Wizard of Oz | Source: Warner Bros.

Most known for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the legend had a very interesting career. She was able to pull at heart strings as she acted, danced, and sang. Her work was nominated for an Oscar in A Star is Born and Judgment at Nuremberg. However she only ended up winning the “Juvenile Award” in 1940 for her work that year.

Although Judy was usually cute on screen, her real life was a different story. The sweetheart died in June 22 from an overdose in her London hotel. She was found by her fifth husband, Mickey Deans. At that point the actress was 47 and her husband was trying to revive her career that had been over for some time. The medical examiner also found her to be malnourished and dehydrated, according to Examiner.

After being a child star, the actress lived fast. When she had a contract with MGM she was given “pep pills” to suppress her appetite and keep up her energy, according to Biography. This was because the studio wanted her to lose weight. This along with the stress of fame may have started her addiction.

She might not have been at the height of her career, but the actress was definitely not forgotten. At her funeral more than 22,000 came to mourn her and a big percentage of that were gay men. The legend is undoubtedly a gay icon and some have tied the rainbow flag to The Wizard of Oz‘s “Over the Rainbow.”

4. Heath Ledger (1979–2008)

Heath Ledger | Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

The handsome and talented actor has a pretty diverse filmography. He was in romantic comedies like 10 Things I Hate About You, critically acclaimed movies like Brokeback Mountain, and blockbusters like The Dark Knight. He didn’t corner himself and therefore showed his talent and range. Sadly at the height of his career he died from an overdose.

On January 22 the actor died in his apartment in New York. His death was also ruled as an accident and was an overdose from prescription medications, pain killers, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills according to CNN. A masseuse arrived at the apartment to give him a massage. When he was unresponsive she called his friend Mary-Kate Olsen who told her she would call private security people in New York. The masseuse then called the police.

The actor had a daughter with actress Michelle Williams who he was previously engaged to. “My heart is broken,” Williams said in a statement. “I am the mother of the most tender-hearted, high-spirited, beautiful little girl who is the spitting image of her father. All that I can cling to is his presence inside her that reveals itself every day. His family and I watch Matilda as she whispers to trees, hugs animals, and takes steps two at a time, and we know that he is with us still. She will be brought up in the best memories of him.”

Sadly the actor won his first Oscar after he died for his portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight. The award was accepted by his father, mother, and sister.

5. Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962)

Marilyn Monroe | Baron/Getty Images

She is cemented as an icon, and she had some fun comedies under her belt. The blonde was in Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She never was nominated for an Academy Award, but she has proven that actors can certainly be a huge part of movie history without one.

The actress died August 5 in her Los Angeles home naked in her bed with a telephone in her hand. Investigators found bottles of prescription pills for her depression empty around her room, according to History. The cause of death was ruled an overdose and probable suicide. The actress wasn’t happy during the months leading up to her death.

She was being treated for her depression by a psychiatrist. She was reportedly a recluse in the last months of her life, and her maid was the one who found her body. There have been a lot of conspiracy theories surrounding her death due to the interesting life of the actress, including the fact that she had a notorious affair with President John F. Kennedy.

The actress didn’t have any children and wasn’t married at the time of her death. She divorced playwright Arthur Miller in 1961. She was previously married to New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio and James Dougherty. All of her personal effects went to her acting teacher, Lee Strasberg. Although she was still working at the time of her death, her funeral was an intimate affair with 31 attendees according to Los Angeles Times. Joe DiMaggio was one of them, and he reportedly sent a bouquet of roses to her grave three times a week.

6. Chris Farley (1964–1997)

Chris Farley with Tyron Montgomery (L) and Thomas Stellmach (R) | Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

The comedian was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for six years. He also branched out into movies with fellow comedians in Beverly Hills Ninja, Wayne’s World, and Coneheads. People loved him for being able to do impressive physical comedy despite his weight. He also had some memorable characters. So that made it all the more heartbreaking when he died.

The actor died of an accidental overdose from cocaine and morphine on December 18, according to CNN. He was found in his Chicago apartment after a four-day binge according to Entertainment Weekly. During his last two years he was struggling to get clean by going into rehab 17 times.

He reportedly tried to change multiple times by going cold-turkey, trying drug purges, and even went to “fat farms.” The actor was close to 300 pounds, and although it was a big part of his act as a comedian, he reportedly was uncomfortable with not knowing whether people were laughing at him or with him. Part of what might have added fuel on the fire was his exit from Saturday Night Live.

“Where we saw Chris really start to have problems is when, all of a sudden, he leaves the team atmosphere of SNL and he’s now on his own,” Derik Murray explained in the documentary, I Am Chris Farley. “He’s the superstar, and every director and studio wants to put him in their next movie, millions of dollars are coming at him and it’s all about him, and that was a pressure that was very difficult for him to contend with.”

7. Whitney Houston (1963–2012)

Whitney Houston performing on stage | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

She is more known for her impeccable vocals, but she also has some good acting credits on her resume. Her take on “I Will Always Love You” for The Bodyguard became one of her biggest hits. She was also in The Preacher’s Wife, Waiting to Exhale, and Sparkle. The talented woman, however, had a long struggle with addiction.

Technically the actress died from drowning in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room. However, she had traces of marijuana, Xanax, a muscle relaxer called Flexeril, and Benadryl in her system according to the L.A. County Coroner. Due to this she possibly had a heart attack then lost consciousness and drowned. The actress and singer had a long struggle with addiction that affected her career.

Before, she was America’s sweetheart, but somewhere along the way her addiction took over her life. In 2000 she got a misdemeanor possession charge for having marijuana on her at the Hawaii airport. In 2002 she had an interview with Diane Sawyer where her addiction was brought up. There she denied doing one certain drug, “First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let’s get that straight. OK? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is whack.” In 2004 she went to rehab for a week, and from there her addiction became more apparent and more public.

Near the end of her career she was trying to make a comeback by touring. However, fans began criticizing her saying her voice was croaky and she seemed disoriented, according to International Business Times. Sadly the tragedy didn’t end with her death. Her daughter with Bobby Brown also died in 2015 after being found unresponsive in her bathtub.

8. Lisa Robin Kelly (1970–2013)

Lisa Robin Kelly | Kevin Winter/ImageDirect

You know her as the cool older sister Laurie Forman on That ’70s Show. Laurie was often manipulative and made fun of Eric. Their father also spoiled her because she was his only daughter, but it balanced out with their mother favoring Eric. Laurie also would hook up with different men including Kelso played by Ashton Kutcher. The actress was let go from the show in the fifth season. Later on, her death would shock many.

The actress died from an accidental overdose in her sleep in the rehab center, Pax House LLC. After being found she was admitted into a hospital where her blood/alcohol reading came to .34, according to Daily Mail. She was struggling with her addiction for quite some time. She was arrested four times throughout the last four years of her life due to driving under the influence, spousal abuse, and assault.

Her family filed a lawsuit against the rehab center claiming “negligence resulting in wrongful death.” The lawsuit also alleges the facility is “negligent in the hiring, retention, training, and supervision of their agents, employees, servants, and/or independent contractors whom they assigned to care for patients.” The case is still ongoing.

The actress did open up about her addiction through an appearance on Good Morning America. “I had lost a baby, as a result of that, I lost everything,” she said. “And I was abusing alcohol, which I no longer do. With the 70s show, I was guilty — of the drinking problem — and I ran. And I am not running from this. And I have paid my dues.”

9. John Belushi (1949–1982)

John Belushi and Dan Akyroyd in The Blues Brothers | Source: Universal Pictures

He also was on Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1979. Then he left to pursue a movie career and did not disappoint. The actor was notably in The Blues Brothers and Animal House. John Belushi was known for being very energetic and would play belligerent characters at times. Sadly his movie career ended way too early due to an overdose.

The comedian was hanging out with Cathy Smith and Nelson Lyon at Chateau Marmont and reportedly ingesting liquor and cocaine according to Los Angeles Times. Lyon testified in grand jury proceedings that he heard Smith say to Belushi, “I have a big surprise for you. Roll up your sleeves.” She then injected him with what was apparently cocaine. Lyon also claims she injected both of them four more times that day. After that night of partying, Belushi was found dead the next morning.

“I put him to bed,” Smith allegedly told Lyon over the phone the next morning, “went in the living room to write a letter … He was breathing funny and I heard these noises.” She later continued, “I didn’t think anything was wrong … If he was in trouble I would have known what to do. But I didn’t think he was in any trouble. (So) I got in the car and I did some business and I came back and it was, you know, the place was — it was ‘Dragnet.’”

This changed the death from being ruled an accidental overdose to a first degree murder charge. Smith was extradited from her home in Toronto to the United States and was eventually sentenced to prison for three years for manslaughter, according to Los Angeles Times.

10. Elvis Presley (1935–1977)

Elvis Presley | AFP/Getty Images

The King of Rock and Roll was not only an icon on the music scene. But he also danced and sang in movies including Love Me Tender, Blue Hawaii, and more. His good looks, voice, and risky (for the time) dance moves made him the bad boy that everyone loved. However the icon also had a tragic end.

On August 16 the pop star dropped in his bathroom in his Graceland mansion. After three days the coroner announced the musician died of “hypertensive cardiovascular disease with atherosclerotic heart disease” according to The Huffington Post, but this wasn’t the full truth. Two people told responding paramedics that he possibly overdosed according to a paramedic in Elvis Presley: A Southern Life.

He was then sent away in an ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital, which was farther than an emergency room blocks away in order to cover up the overdose. Presley had prescriptions for at least 8,805 “pills, tablets, vials, and injectables” according to the book. The morning he died he had his bodyguard pick up his prescription for six doses of Dilaudid. He gave it to Presley who took it in front of him.

In order to further cover up what happened the medical examiner told the press “a conclusion that had not reached.” However Dr. George Nichopoulos who wrote prescriptions for the dead icon was later found guilty for over prescription by The Medical Board Tribunal. He was suspended for three months and was given three-year probation, according to The Guardian.

America is plagued by tragic addiction — and it often seems that Hollywood celebrity drug overdoses are at the heart of the problem! An alarming number of celebrities have overdosed over the years on heroin, cocaine, and other illicit substances. The lucky ones — such as Demi Lovato, Shelley Long, Lamar Odom, and Brooke Mueller — survive to get before the cameras another day. Sadly, there’s also a decades-long line of doomed stars who succumbed to fatal overdoses…

RIVER PHOENIX (Aug. 23, 1970 – Oct. 31, 1993) was set to become one of the most-respected film stars of the 1990s — but the former child star’s career came to a sudden end as he convulsed outside of the Hollywood hipster enclave known as The Viper Room. Club owner Johnny Depp was among the witnesses who saw his friend die, with River’s drug dealer later revealing the tragic secrets of the four-year binge leading to River’s overdose.


PRINCE (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) came to a tragic end at his Paisley Park complex in Minnesota — and his death turned into a police investigation after cops began to unearth his massive drug stash. The reclusive rock star had once boasted of subsisting on “angel food,” and hid his destructive habits by licking on drug-laced lollipops. Police finally announced they wouldn’t investigate Prince’s drug sources, although insiders blamed the star’s death on a Chinese drug cartel selling deadly fake medications.

ELVIS PRESLEY (Jan. 8, 1935 – Aug. 16, 1977) died with 14 different drugs in his system — although the cause of his death has remained a topic of debate over the years. Nobody denied The King’s reliance on his dope-dealing crony “Dr. Nick,” however. Priscilla Presley also blames drugs for her ex-husband’s demise, saying: “People go, well, ‘Why didn’t anyone do anything?…People there in the inner group did, but you did not tell Elvis Presley what to do.”


ROBERT PASTORELLI (June 21, 1954 – March 8, 2004) won’t be part of the “Murphy Brown” reunion — and some sources claim that the actor cheated justice with an “accidental” suicide after the violent death of his girlfriend! The busy actor officially died of an accidental heroin overdose. Law enforcement insiders, however, said cops were getting ready to arrest him for the “suicide” of Charemon Jonovich!

TOM PETTY (Oct. 20, 1950 – Oct. 2, 2017) looked in great shape while on a world tour — but The National ENQUIRER caught the rocker looking rickety just as he struggled through a series of final shows at the Hollywood Bowl. Plenty of insiders were still shocked to discover that the “Breakdown” singer had covered up his drug dependency. After his sudden death, an autopsy found that the star died of an accidental overdose of oxycodone, Fentanyl, emazepam, alprazolam, citalopram — plus acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl.


JOHN BELUSHI (Jan. 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982) became the first casualty of the drug-fueled antics behind the scenes at “Saturday Night Live.” The beloved funnyman had broken out big as a movie star, but also had a big appetite for consuming massive amounts of cocaine. Then he moved on to heroin, with drug dealer Cathy Smith revealing secrets of his horrific final night of partying in Hollywood.


CHRIS FARLEY (Feb. 15, 1964 – Dec. 18, 1997) later continued the tradition of “Saturday Night Live” stars turning to drugs in the face of fame. And, just like with Belushi, his tragic demise in December 1997 turned into a police investigation after it was learned that a woman had witnessed the struggling star’s final drug-fueled hours. A Chicago prostitute later admitted that she had left Chris alone in his apartment as he began overdosing on cocaine and morphine.


HEATH LEDGER (April 4, 1979 – Jan. 22, 2008) was found dead in his $23,000-a-month rental apartment in NYC, with the 28-year-old Australian actor having just finished filming his role as The Joker in the Batman movie “The Dark Night.” Ledger would later win an Oscar for his amazing work as the comic-book villain — months after an autopsy revealed that he’d died from an accidental overdose of oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, diazepam, temazepam and doxylamine.


WHITNEY HOUSTON (Aug. 9, 1963 – Feb. 11, 2012) endured a tragic and troubled career that culminated with her drug-dazed death in a Beverly Hills bathtub — as a police report cited several sightings nearby of a “a white powdery substance.” An autopsy would later determine that she’d died from an accidental overdose of cocaine just hours before attending a Grammys party hosted by her concerned mentor Clive Davis.


LISA ROBIN KELLY (March 5, 1970 – Aug. 15, 2013) had found fame on “That 70’s Show” as sexy college student Laurie Forman. Tragically, she was also an alcoholic trapped in an abusive marriage, and had wrecked her career over several incidents of bizarre behavior. Lisa was in a rehab facility to treat her drinking problem when she died from “multiple drug intoxication.”


MARILYN MONROE (June 1, 1926 – Aug. 5, 1962) is another showbiz legend whose death has sparked decades of controversy. Even old showbiz pals like Debbie Reynolds went public to say that they believed the screen goddess was murdered — with theories blaming everyone from the CIA to the Mafia to the powerful Kennedy clan. There was still no denying that the troubled actress had grown dependent on drugs, making it easier for the coroner to officially rule that Marilyn died from an overdose of barbiturates.


GLENN QUINN (May 28, 1970 – Dec. 3, 2002) was quickly flagged as a rising star when he joined “Roseanne” as the husband of TV daughter Becky Conner. Quinn then co-starred with David Boreanaz on the hit supernatural drama “Angel” — but his character was soon killed off as insiders reported he’d become unreliable. The 32-year-old star was crashing on a friend’s couch when he was found dead from a heroin overdose.


CORY MONTEITH (May 11, 1982 – July 13, 2013) was set to be the breakout star on “Glee” when the show became a surprise hit for the FOX network in 2009. The busy actor’s career came to a sudden end, however, when Cory died at 31 years old from what was later ruled as a “mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol.” Cory had been in rehab for substance addiction just four months before.


JUDY GARLAND (June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was raised on pills while working as a child star on the sordid sets of classic Hollywood movies. Sadly, the beloved actress and entertainer carried those addictions into adulthood. Judy also suffered from a series of abusive relationships — with actor George Hamilton revealing that she’d made an earlier suicide attempt before she died from an overdose of barbiturates.


CHYNA (Dec. 27, 1969 – April 20, 2016) won over plenty of young fans as the biggest female star in world of professional wrestling. The troubled performer was struggling after she left the WWE, though. The built beauty went from a Playboy photo shoot to a career in hardcore pornography. She was found dead from mixing alcohol and prescription drugs — having starred in her final adult films as The She-Hulk in porn parodies of comic-book movies.


DANA PLATO (Nov. 7, 1964 – May 8, 1999) enjoyed a long run starring as clean-cut Kimberly Drummond on “Diff’rent Strokes.” Behind the scenes, however, Dana was getting high on Valium, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol. The bisexual ex-star burned through her money and was arrested for robbing a video store in 1991. A coroner ruled that she had committed suicide by overdosing on pills after Dana’s body was found on May 8, 1999 — one day after a bizarre final interview on Howard Stern’s radio show.


GEORGE MICHAEL (June 25, 1963 – Dec. 25, 2016) officially died a natural death on Christmas Day — but the coroner’s ruling also noted how his body had suffered from a lifetime of alcohol and drug abuse. The “Faith” singer’s cousin has also claimed that George had shot up methadone just two days before dying. Andros Georgiouand also accused pals of giving George other narcotics “to last him through Christmas Day.”


MICHAEL JACKSON (Aug. 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) died in a cloud of controversy over his bizarre personal life — but his personal physician would end up doing time over the King of Pop’s death. A coroner ruled that Michael’s shocking surprise death on June 25, 2009 was the result of an overdose of lorazepam and propofol. The drugs had been given to him by Dr. Conrad Murray, who later served two years in prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter.


BRITTANY MURPHY (Nov. 10, 1977 – Dec. 20, 2009) was another rising star whose career came to a quick end over talk of bad behavior on the set. She spent 13 years as the voice of “Luanne Platter” on the FOX show “King of the Hill,” but couldn’t maintain her leading lady status after movies including “Don’t Say a Word” and “8 Mile.” Brittany was also rumored to be burning through money when she died in Dec. 2009 at age 32. The cause of death was pneumonia, plus a secondary factor of “multiple drug intoxication.”


BOBBY HATFIELD (Aug. 10, 1940 – Nov. 5, 2003) left Bill Medley as a solo act after the Righteous Brothers singer’s death at 63 years old. The hit ’60s act had reunited after the 1990 film “Ghost” brought their classic “Unchained Melody” back to the top of the pop charts. A concert in Kalamazoo, Mich., was canceled after his body was found in his hotel room, with a toxicology report concluding that a cocaine overdose had strained his already-weakened heart.


SCOTT WEILAND (Oct. 27, 1967 – Dec. 3, 2015) had already surprised fans by living to 48 years old when he died on his tour bus in Bloomington, Minn. The singer was a notorious heroin addict throughout his years fronting Stone Temple Pilots, but later claimed to have gotten sober while singing for hit act Velvet Revolver. He had been on a solo tour marred by bizarre stage antics before finally overdosing on cocaine and amphetamines.


IKE TURNER (Nov. 5, 1931 – Dec. 12, 2007) drew a huge crowd of admirers after he passed away — despite being notorious for brutally beating his onetime wife and stage partner Tina Turner. Music legends like Little Richard and Phil Spector still showed up to celebrate the rocker’s life. Ike died at the age of 76, as well, so few of the mourners suspected that the volatile rocker and bluesman had died from a cocaine overdose.


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