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Famous People Who Died of an Overdose

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Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

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Many entertainers and high-profile individuals have died from a heroin overdose. This fact is a reminder that heroin can kill anyone, anytime, anywhere: rich or poor, black or white, famous or infamous. Heroin is highly addictive. People who regularly use heroin often develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects.1 Since heroin is an illegal drug, it is not regulated, and the strength of heroin is very inconsistent. The first time an individual uses heroin can lead to a drug overdose.

Here are but a few of the famous who have died too young due to heroin overdose:

  • Sid Vicious

    The bassist for the groundbreaking punk band The Sex Pistols died of an overdose shortly after being released from prison.

  • Kurt Cobain

    The Nirvana frontman was a long-time heroin abuser and committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot. Cobain was clinically depressed, and heroin abuse stopped him from seeing things clearly. As a result, he took his own life because he thought it was the only way out.

  • River Phoenix

    In 1993, the promising young actor died from an overdose of a mixture of cocaine and heroin outside of The Viper Room in Los Angeles.

  • Jim Morrison

    The lead singer of The Doors moved to Paris after the band’s long run of success wound down. In 1971, he died in his bathtub of a heart attack triggered by an overdose of heroin.

  • Janis Joplin

    One of the greatest female folk-rock singers of all-time, Joplin — who also struggled with alcohol abuse — died of a heroin overdose in Los Angeles after a long battle with the drug.

  • John Belushi

    Perhaps the greatest comic voice of his generation, Belushi died at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles as a result of a speedball injection of heroin and cocaine.

  • Chris Farley

    Well-known comedic actor Chris Farley struggled for years with addiction to many drugs, including heroin. He was found dead from a drug overdose in his apartment in October of 1997.

  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman

    An award-winning actor, Hoffman’s death was officially ruled an accident caused by acute mixed drug intoxication. He overdosed on a mixture of heroin cocaine, benzodiazepines, and amphetamine.

Michael’s House understands that heroin addiction is a serious problem that can strike absolutely anyone. Heroin use more than doubled among young adults ages 18–25 in the past decade. More than 9 in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug.2 Individuals who seek heroin treatment at Michael’s House are all treated with kindness and care. You don’t have to be famous to receive quality care at Michael’s House. You just need to be committed to turning your life around and breaking the cycle of heroin addiction. Call 760.548.4032 now, and you will talk to one of our admissions coordinators who will answer all of your questions.

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1What Is Heroin?National Institute of Health. 3 October 2017. Accessed 13 October 2017.

2Today’s Heroin Epidemic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 4 October 2017. Accessed 13 October 2017.