25 March 2013

Seven Of The Most Famous Musicians Who Died From Drug Abuse

No. 11 CC, Paris, page 115,

Questions always linger after someone dies from a drug overdose, especially when the victim resides in the celebrity limelight. Friends, family and fans may speculate the circumstances that led to their loved one's death, particularly if the addiction was kept hidden. These seven artists have left lasting impressions during their lives, which were tragically cut short.

Judy Garland
Judy Garland was a talented singer, but became better known to most as an actress. The bright eyed 17-year-old who guided millions of children through the Land of Oz is perhaps one of the entertainment industry's earliest victims of substance abuse. After a long bout with alcoholism and four failed marriages, Garland overdosed on barbiturates in 1969. Ray Bolger, the actor who portrayed the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, said it best at her memorial service: "She just plain wore out."

Jimi Hendrix
In addition to his exceptional abilities with a guitar, Hendrix was well-known for using marijuana and LSD on top of drinking large quantities of alcohol; however, a prescription drug did him in. One night in 1970, Hendrix took 18 times the recommended dose of Vesparax, a heavy-duty sleeping aid, after a night of alcohol and drug use. Unable to wake, Hendrix choked on his own vomit at age 27.

Janis Joplin
In the same year that Jimi Hendrix passed away, another talented young artist who shared the stage with Hendrix at Woodstock succumbed to her drug addiction. When Janis Joplin missed a recording session, her producer sent a roadie to her hotel to check on her. The roadie found Joplin dead beside her bed. Her death was later ruled to be heroin related.

Jim Morrison
In 1971, The Doors vocalist Jim Morrison, who struggled with drug and alcohol dependency, traveled to Paris with his girlfriend, Pamela Courson, in hopes of regrouping. Apparently, the retreat didn't go so well because his lover awoke one morning to find him dead in their apartment's bathtub. Courson told police that she and her boyfriend were snorting heroin the night before. French law does not require an autopsy if foul play is not suspected, so no toxicology screening was performed.

Kurt Cobain
Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain lay dead at his Seattle home for three days before his body was discovered next to a shotgun, a heroin needle, and a suicide note. While some may argue that the addiction didn't technically kill him, it was a major contributing factor. The week prior to his death, he had checked into Exodus Recover Center for his addiction and soon after escaped by scaling a six foot wall surrounding the facility. His death alerted modern music historians to a disturbing trend: dozens of promising young rock stars including Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison had all died of drug overdoses at age 27. The term "Dead at 27 Club" was coined and now has its own Wikipedia page.

Layne Staley
Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley sang about his relationship with hard drugs and became candid about his problem late in life. In his final interview, Staley predicted his own fall, saying, "I know I'm near death," as he described the toll crack and heroin had taken on his liver and stomach. Staley was found dead in his apartment two weeks after injecting a fatal speedball, a dangerous mixture of his two favorite drugs, in 2002.

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston's unexpected demise still stings. Though her official cause of death was drowning in a bathtub, the toxicology report revealed a list of drugs including cocaine, marijuana, Xanax and Benadryl in her system. The nature of her death has not darkened her legacy; hundreds of artists including Stevie Wonder and R. Kelly paid their respects at Houston's four-hour memorial service.

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About Today's Guest Writer:
Jane Bowen has been a substance abuse counselor for the past 14 years and writes about victories, tragedies, perils, and hope when it comes to overcoming addictions. Jane also has contributed to Best Addiction Counseling Degrees, a resource for people who want to become counselors and help people through their recovery.
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