For decades now, drug consumption and dependency have played a notorious role in the lives of Hollywood stars. But now a new type of addiction is growing increasingly prevelant among the rich and famous. More and more celebrities today are falling prey to prescription drug abuse. Recent victims include Oscar-winning actor Heath Ledger, guitar legend Jimi Hendrix and sex symbol Anna Nicole Smith, who was found dead in a pool of her own blood in a hotel room in 2007. Forensics found nine different types of medication in her blood. In the 150 days leading up to her death, Smith is said to have taken around 8100 pills – enough to have killed her several times over.
According to an exclusive rehabilitation unit in Malibu, there are now more prescription drug addicts in America than those dependent on heroin and cocaine put together. “Everyone’s on something“, says 24-year-old singer Kelly Osbourne, who checked into a rehab clinic for the third time last January with an addiction to painkillers. She has been fighting it since the age of 17. Other celebrities with addictions include Britney Spears, who has been linked to appetite suppressant and weight loss drugs Clenbuterol, Zantrex-3 and Topamax, as well as psychostimulant Adderall. Amy Winehouse is said to have taken Valium to calm her down after smoking crack, and Robbie Williams combined his tablet intake with excessive amounts of caffeine.
More often than not, it all begins rather harmlessly. Beans, Vike and Rid, as they are referred to by the stars themselves, are Hollywood’s favourite pills. One helps you fall asleep, the other wakes you up in the morning, and the third puts a smile on your face regardless of your troubles. Lindsay Lohan is said to be a fan of Adderall, an amphetamin-based stimulant, which can produce an effect similar to speed when cut up and snorted. It creates the feeling of being awake and concentrated for up to nine hours, as well as surpressing hunger. The drug is banned in many countries because it can lead to psychotic episodes, aggression and even a heart attack. The press have speculated that this addiction and her on/off relationship with DJ Samantha Ronson have caused Lohan’s drastic weight-loss. According to Lohan’s father, the actress is said to have been taking similar medication to Heath Ledger prior to his death – Oxycontin for pain relief, Ambien for sleep and Xanax for combatting depression. She is said to have already spent around 5 million US dollars on her dependency.
Another shocking confession came from actress Jamie Lee Curtis recently, through an internet blog on Michael Jackson’s prescription drug addiction. Following a cosmetic proceedure 15 years ago, Curtis became dependent on morphine. She says: “Morphine became like a hot bath for me. In it, I could escape from painful reality“. The actress says she is now clean.
30-year-old Fall Out Boy singer Pete Wentz has often been heard praising his sleeping pill of choice, Ambien, without which he allegedly can’t sleep for longer than one hour. Yet even Wentz warns of side effects such as hallucinations: “Four months ago, I nearly set fire to the house“. Similarly, Eminem refused to give up Methadone, used to wean addicts off heroin, even after a near-overdose. The rapper says: “My doctor told me that the amount I took was the equivalent of four packets of heroin and still it didn’t click“.
The days of snorting cocaine in backrooms are gone. Stimulant medication like Adderall are cheaper and legal with a prescription. In 2007, Paris Hilton promptly got a prescription for Adderall as treatment for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Doctors that are more willing to give out prescriptions become popular in celebrity circles. Michael Jackson’s sinister skin doctor, Arnold Klein, is said to have also supplied “Star Wars“ actress Carrie Fischer and Hollywood diva Elizabeth Taylor with strong prescription-only pills. Both were friends of Jackson and both had a dependency on the tablets. Those who have not been able to befriend a doctor, such as Kate Moss, buy pills at drug parties or simply over the internet. Since 2006, the number of websites offering prescription-only medication has risen by 70% – most sites do not ask for a doctor’s prescription.
But thankfully, help is at hand. Celebrities with drug problems need to undergo addiction counseling as part of a complete addiction treatment program to help them get rid of the drugs in their system.Tags: addiction medication