Hollywood: Getting over those, gone from the Overdose
The news of the death of gifted character actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman broke on Sunday and with it, the shocking details of the circumstances surrounding the sad event. Police stated that investigators found him on the bathroom floor of his Manhattan apartment with a syringe sticking out of his arm. Two plastic bags of a substance suspected to be white heroin were recovered from his home. Hoffman had struggled with drug abuse earlier in his life and was reportedly clean for 23 years before dabbling into prescription pills and heroin again last year. He checked into rehab in May 2013 and was released after 10 days. His close friends have expressed shock, saying that he had seemed “healthy and in a good place” of recent. Hoffman was 46 at the time of his death.
Over the years, a lot of Hollywood stars have succumbed to the slavery that is addiction, be it drugs or alcohol. We’ve witness an obscene amount of talent go down the drain with the amount of lives truncated by substance abuse. Just late last year, Hollywood mourned the loss of Glee star Cory Monteith who died of a heroin and alcohol overdose. One of the most crushing blows to date remains actor Heath Ledger, whose brilliant portrayal as The Joker in the Batman movie, The Dark Knight, has been solidified in history as one of the pest portrayals of all time. Ledger was found dead by his housekeeper in his home in 2008. Toxicology reports showed the presence of a lethal cocktail of sleeping pills, downers and painkillers in his bloodstream. He was 28. His death shone a bit of a flashlight of the reality of the abuse of prescription medicine, though his death was ruled as an accidental overdose. Elvis Presley before him was another high-profile celebrity who died from similar causes.
The most worrying facet of this disturbing occurrence is the youth of those who fall victim. Most of the stars who die this way are cut short in the prime of their lives. River Phoenix was only 23 when he died of a cocaine overdose just before he was supposed to perform with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 1993. And who can forget the infamous 27 Club- the grim nickname for the seemingly long list of artistes who died of substance abuse at the age of 27. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse are four unbelievably brilliant talents in this group whose deaths left the world a much poorer place.
One would think that with all these chilling examples, the people in the business would tighten the strings on their discipline but the sad fact is that substance abuse and Hollywood have a classic bad romance. Drugs and alcohol seem to be the fuel of celebrities. Drugs are given to them for free at parties and a lot of them are dependent on the induced high these narcotics provide to get them through something as simple as breakfast. Of course, no one admits they have a problem until a coroner’s services are required. The insiders swear that “everyone is doing it” and you often hear stars defend their habits by saying that they only use drugs “socially”. However, the books at the highbrow rehab centres that pepper the landscape of L.A. beg to differ. Some celebrities spend more time at in rehab than elsewhere (see Lindsay Lohan) and an alarming number of them have had cause to do a stint or two at Betty Ford Clinic.
While one may commend those like Robert Downey Jr. who get help and strive to stay clean and healthy, concern rises for those who seem to be on a downward spiral, those who downplay the extent of their dependence on these harmful substances until they turn up dead (hearsay has it that Bruno Mars has not been spotted sober since 2011). It’s a long journey from denial and hopeless addiction to recovery. These stars need to stop playing Russian roulette with their lives and get the help and support they need before things become fatal.