The Sad Intersection of Fame, Drugs and Death

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As the old rock song, Deja Vu, goes, “We have all been here before.”
Once again the headlines are full of the unbearable news of another superstar’s drug overdose. Once again, experts on addiction are rushing to use a celebrity death to draw down on the failures of the culture, law enforcement and the medical system to prevent another talented artist from ending up in an early grave due to substance addiction.
It was shocking when Prince was found dead, alone in an elevator, on April 21 at his Paisley Park compound in Carver County, Minn., outside Minneapolis. It was shocking when reports began surfacing that investigators were exploring what role painkillers might have played in his death and how he obtained them, since Prince had always prided himself on his healthy lifestyle. Read full Story
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.
Michael Jackson
Age: 50
Year of death: 2009
Cause of death: Acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication
Whitney Houston
Age: 48
Year of death: 2012
Cause of death: Cocaine, heart disease, drowning
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
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Age: 46
Year of death: 2014
Cause of death: Acute intoxication by heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and benzodiazepines
Amy Winehouse
Age: 27
Year of death: 2011
Cause of death: Alcohol poisoning
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
Chris Farley
Age: 33
Year of death: 1997
Cause of death: Cocaine and morphine overdose
River Phoenix
Age: 23
Year of death: 1993
Cause of death: Cocaine and heroin overdose
John Belushi
Age: 33
Year of death: 1982
Cause of death: Cocaine and heroin overdose
Janis Joplin
Age: 27
Year of death: 1970
Cause of death: Heroin overdose
Jimi Hendrix
Age: 27
Year of death: 1970
Cause of death: Barbiturate intoxication
Cory Monteith
Age: 31
Year of death: 2013
Cause of death: Mixed drug toxicity, including heroin and alcohol
Scott Weiland
Age: 48
Year of death: 2015
Cause of death: A toxic mix of drugs including cocaine, ethanol and the amphetamine MDA
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

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