Alcohol and drug addiction are illnesses that affect people from all backgrounds, regardless of their gender, age and race. Addiction does not discriminate and is not something that affects just bad people. It is a chronic illness of the brain, and no matter how wealthy a person is, he or she can be affected by this illness just as it can affect those who appear to have nothing.
Many are under the impression that addiction is something that affects those from poor backgrounds or those who are uneducated and have no jobs; this is not the case. Many professionals are affected by alcohol and drug addiction, and many of these individuals have plenty of money, good homes, well-paying jobs and families that love them.
Addiction is also an illness that can affect those in the public eye, with many stars turning to substances such as drugs or alcohol to help them cope with the pressures of fame. Sadly, addiction often claims the lives of those who suffer with it. While many people do get the help they need, a number of celebrity addicts fail to reach out for fear that it could affect their career.
The most recent celebrity to succumb to addiction was Prince. The global superstar had been struggling with a prescription painkiller addiction for decades, unbeknown to his fans. The result of the toxicology report was revealed last week, which show that the cause of death was an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl. Prince was just fifty-seven at the time of his death.
In 2009, the world was shocked to hear that superstar Michael Jackson was dead. Jackson had been in the public eye for over forty years, having first found fame with his brothers in the Jackson 5. He went on to forge his own career as a solo artist and became one of the biggest superstars the world has ever known. Nevertheless, it was not just his musical talent that saw him hit the headlines. Jackson regularly made the front pages of the world’s tabloids due to his personal life. He had a string of high-profile relationships and was also accused of child sexual abuse, but he settled this case out of court.
Unsurprisingly, Jackson’s life both in and out of the spotlight took its toll, and he too struggled with addiction to prescription medication; and it ultimately led to his death. He died from an accidental overdose of propofol and benzodiazepine.
Actor and director Philip Seymour Hoffman struggled with alcohol and drug addiction during his time at university, and he entered rehab at the age of twenty-two. He maintained his sobriety for twenty-three years before relapsing in 2013, at which time he entered rehab again. Sadly, despite claims that he had control of his drug use, he was found dead from an accidental overdose in his apartment in February 2014. He had taken a lethal cocktail of drugs including cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. He was just forty-six years old.
Whitney Houston appeared to have the world at her feet at the height of her fame. She was one of the biggest selling artists of all time and had starred in films as well as done some modelling. Nonetheless, she began dabbling in drugs with her then-husband Bobby Brown, and it was not long before she descended into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol addiction. In February 2012, Whitney was found unresponsive in the bathtub of her hotel room in Beverly Hills and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. The cause of death was accidental drowning, but toxicology reports showed that she had drugs in her system at the time of death. She was also suffering from heart disease, most likely brought on by years of alcohol and drug abuse.
Amy Winehouse’s struggles with drugs and alcohol made headline news. She was considered by many to be one of the most promising up-and-coming artists of the time, but despite many stints in rehab, she could not beat her addictions. As well as her addictions, Amy suffered from mental health problems including anxiety disorder. In July 2011, Amy was found dead in her bed by her bodyguard. The cause of death was alcohol poisoning; she was just twenty-seven years old.
River Phoenix was an actor who first appeared on screen at the age of ten. He continued to appear on television and the big screen until his death in 1993 at the age of just twenty-three. River collapsed outside the Viper Room nightclub in Hollywood after overdosing on heroin and cocaine. He was with his brother, sister, and girlfriend at the time, but he could not be revived.
Drug addiction is a destructive and devastating illness that often claims the lives of its victims. However, it is important to note that this is an illness that can be overcome. Many people beat addiction every day and learn how to live clean and sober lives with the help and support of professional counsellors, therapists and other medical professionals.
If drug addiction is affecting your life, call UKAT today for advice and information on how to get sober and stay sober.
If you successfully complete our 90-day inpatient treatment program, we guarantee you'll stay clean and sober, or you can return for a complimentary 30 days of treatment.