Houston? We Have a Problem

Feb 26, 2012 | Stacy Matson | Celebrity Health
Houston? We Have a Problem

image by: Mark Kettenhofen

In the past few years prescription drugs have claimed the lives of more celebrities than hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Will Whitney Houston be on that list?

Remember Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, and Corey Haim?  They were all famous, all wealthy, all abusing prescription drugs and now, they’re all dead.  And, once Whitney Houston’s toxicology results are released, you’ll probably be able to add her to that list as well.

Whitney Houston was once the All-American good girl with the golden voice.  However, behind the scenes, the singer had a secret life that included serious drug and alcohol abuse. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Houston admitted that she began using crack cocaine in the 1990s and went from being “a light drug user to a heavy drug user” over a 15 year period.  When Houston was asked if she felt she was “addicted” to drugs she said, “I don't think of myself as addicted, I think of it as a bad habit.”

Houston explained that she had been “too busy working to party” in her early twenties and wanted to have fun and release her “inner rebellion” as she got older.  She even tried to rationalize her drug use by saying that it wasn’t a problem because she “wasn’t shooting heroin.”  Yet, when asked if she used alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or pills, Houston said she “experimented with all of them.”

For almost two decades, drugs consumed Houston’s life and nearly ruined her career. Her behavior changed and she developed a reputation for being combative and unreliable. She would show up hours late for interviews, photo shoots, and rehearsals and she began canceling concerts and appearances at the last minute. She had run-ins with the law as well; at one point Houston was arrested, along with her husband, at a Hawaii airport after security discovered bags of marijuana in her luggage.

In 2010, Houston attempted a comeback. The critics were harsh and commented on her “croaky” voice and disoriented performances.  Her fans were equally disappointed and said Houston seemed exhausted after the first song of the first show. At one point she stopped for 20-minutes to catch her breath.  Eventually, she was forced to cancel most of the tour due to an undisclosed “illness” and then checked herself into rehab…again.

Whitney Houston never seemed able to get her life back on track, and on February 11, 2012, she was found dead in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel.  Authorities are said to have found alcohol and a half dozen bottles of prescription medications including Lorazepam, Valium, Xanax, and other sleep aids in her room.

Prescription drugs have become a popular alternative to the more difficult to obtain street drugs. The reason?  Many people believe that prescription medications are safer to use because they are FDA approved and usually prescribed by a doctor. Drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Soma, and Fentanyl, which are 100 times stronger than morphine, are largely responsible for the 90% increase in prescription drug addictions and deaths over the last 10 years. And, however safe people think they are; prescription drugs can be deadly when abused or mixed with alcohol. 

In the United States, death by prescription drug overdose has surpassed deaths resulting from car accidents – that’s one person every 19 minutes, 50 people a day, or 27,000 a year.  Most of those deaths involve mixing a painkiller with at least one other drug, such as Xanax or Alprazolam, cocaine, heroin or alcohol.  Prescription drugs are the new drug “epidemic” as they are readily available, cheaper than street drugs, and legal with a prescription.  All you need is a doctor willing to prescribe them to you…

Stacy Matson, a health enthusiast from Southern California, regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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