Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s recent death from a heroin overdose made headlines, but heroin also claimed the lives Cory Monteith, Chris Farley, and River Phoenix.
We’re taking a look at Hollywood stars that have struggled with heroin addiction.
Many celebrities have admitted dabbling in heroin use and some had serious addictions to the deadly drug.
We’re going to take a look at a few celebrities that have spoken openly about their experiences.
British comedian Russell Brand has been sober since 2003, but has openly spoken about his struggle with heroin addiction.
Brand previously said, “When I took drugs I felt lonely, alienated and disconnected. When I took heroin for the first time it was beautiful. It was a personal problem – I couldn’t cope with being alive, I needed to take drugs.”
Robert Downey Jr.
“Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. was on a dangerous path earlier in his career, which included times in treatment and jail. Thankfully, he turned his life around after being addicted to cocaine and heroin.
At one point, he told a judge that using drugs was “like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth with my finger on the trigger and I like the taste of the gun metal.”
Robert said in 2010, “I accidentally [got] involved in heroin after smoking crack for the first time. It finally tied my shoelaces together. Smoking dope and smoking coke, you are rendered defenseless. The only way out of that hopeless state is intervention.”
Former child star Corey Feldman had a very public and tumultuous battle with addiction in his early career. The star after a rough break-up he tried heroin.
He said, “I was like, ‘Well, I’ve tried everything else, and it doesn’t seem to fill this void, so maybe I should try that now.’ So I did, and boom – instantly addicted…The only one that really ever took me down that fast and that hard was heroin, and it was awful. It lasted maybe a year, a year and two months. I’ve never looked back.”
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler revealed that at one point he was spending $2,000 a week on heroin, cocaine and alcohol. The singer wrote, “I blew 20 million. I snorted my Porsche, I snorted my plane, I snorted my house in that din of drugs and booze and being lost”.
Nicole Richie, now a fashion designer, was using cocaine at the age of 18 before getting into heroin. Richie said her rebellious stage came to a halt when she was 23 after she was arrested for heroin possession. She explained, “I got tired of it. A few arrests helped. A few hours in jail will do that to you. Once you see the consequences are real.”
Angelina Jolie is now a mom of six children with her fiance Brad Pitt. But Jolie used to be quite the wild child. Angelina previously told The Mirror of her drug use, “I have done just about every drug possible: cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and, my favorite, heroin”.
Samuel L. Jackson
“Pulp Fiction” star Samuel L. Jackson actually overdosed on heroin three times before he realized he needed to get clean. He went to rehab in 1991, but put his family through very rough times.
Jackson said, “The third time I OD’d on heroin I quit the drug completely. It’s too dangerous. I was mad. I was crazed. I was not happy with who I was”.
Of course, many celebrities that dabbled with the deadly drug weren’t quite so lucky.
Just a few stars off the top of our head we lost to heroin include former “Saturday Night Live” star John Belushi, actor River Phoenix, “Glee” star Cory Monteith, and most recently Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that over 660,000 Americans used heroin in 2012, nearly double the number from five years earlier.
Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital, said the new generation of heroin users “don’t know of the dangers and high incidence of overdose and death. People can function while addicted to heroin, hence it is quite possible to hide your addiction. But make no mistake, heroin destroys lives and kills. Even being ‘clean’ for decades does not mean you cannot relapse.”