Recent artists who may have suffered opiate addiction – and what were they medicating?
Opiate addiction is not as uncommon as it may seem. ABC News reports that many Hollywood celebrities have recently begun using opioid painkillers — prescriptions that rely on the poppy plant that’s used to make opium and Heroin — for the sense of euphoria the drugs offer.
Often an addiction grows out of self-medication for anxiety, depression, loneliness or unhappiness. Those are issues that affect people regardless of their economic background or social status. Here are some of the most famous celebrities who have recently struggled with opiate addiction.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman The death of Academy Award winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who recently appeared in movies like The Hunger Games and Mission Impossible launched a national discussion about drug use and addiction when he died from an overdose in February 2014. His death demonstrated the power of opiate addiction, since he had previously been sober from Heroin for more than 20 years. Other celebrities who have died recently from opiate addiction are Janis Joplin, Chris Farley and Cory Monteith. As the star of the TV show Glee, Monteith was very open about his addiction to prescription drugs. However, his downfall came when he transitioned from painkillers to Heroin.
Nicole Ritchie The Simple Life star was arrested in December 2006 for driving her car the wrong way down the highway. Police found her to be under the influence of Vicodin, an opiate addiction component. Claiming to be taking the powerful pain medication to treat menstrual cramps, Ritchie later admitted that was an excuse to avoid responsibility. Having a baby has helped her learn to be responsible and set a good example, she said.
Winona Ryder When arrested for shoplifting on Fifth Avenue, police found eight painkillers in her purse, some of which she didn’t have a prescription for. What began for her as innocently taking pain medication for a broken arm soon became an addiction. Ryder explained that she hit a “weird point” where she didn’t know if she was in pain, but continued to take medicine. She described the state as “confusion.”
Russell Brand This British comedian battled opiate addiction for years, but has been sober for 10. Despite this, he says he still thinks about taking the drug nearly every day. The drug’s ability to neutralize pain makes it so attractive, he told The Guardian in 2013, explaining he thought about taking it after his girlfriend revealed she was pregnant with a baby that wasn’t his. In his words, the addiction is not rational, and an addict must have structured help in order to recover. Addictions incarcerate the person who struggles with them, he said.
Matthew Perry As the lovable, sassy Chandler Bing on Friends, Matthew Perry enjoyed much success in his career. Unfortunately, celebrating that success at parties led him into addiction. He started self-medicating his drinking problem with Vicodin. After realizing the severity of the problem, he went to rehab several times and was able to kick the habit of taking painkillers.