Celebrities have glamorized and publicly used drugs for decades, with slogans like “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” being the norm for the rich and famous. That public drug abuse often leads to the people who look up to them feeling that it’s okay to use. Yet, even for the rich and famous, drug abuse is dangerous, addictive, and even deadly. Every year, drugs and alcohol abuse take the lives of thousands of people – including celebrities.
This list of celebrities who died after abusing drugs in 2022 reminds us all that drugs are dangerous, even if you have access to the safest drugs and to the best medical care. And, if you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it’s not cool or glamorous, it’s dangerous and potentially life-ending. This list includes tragic and early deaths of people who were looked up to, loved, and admired.
In 2022, three major celebrities died of drug-related causes. This list includes persons whose public autopsy reports reveal drug-related deaths. There may be more celebrities who died of drug related causes in 2022, but for privacy reasons, their family have opted to keep those reports private.
The Foo Fighters Drummer Taylor Hawkins died after being taken to the hospital on an emergency basis. He had been complaining of chest pains in his hotel but by the time emergency services responded, he was unresponsive.
Hawkins’ toxicology report revealed that the drummer had ten substances in his system at the time of death, most of which were prescription medications. These included opioid pain pills and benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and THC. It’s unknown if Hawkins was using recreationally or for medical reasons. However, his heart had enlarged to about twice its normal size because of ongoing substance abuse, resulting in heart failure.
Hawkins tragic death is a reminder that prescription drugs are also dangerous to abuse, as they can contribute to physical health problems and death as much as illicit ones.
NFL Quarterback Dwayne Haskins died in 2022 at the age of 25 after being hit by two vehicles while under the influence. The football star was found to be lightly intoxicated with a mixture of alcohol and ketamine in his blood, which may have contributed to his crossing an interstate on foot.
This tragic accident is not entirely because of drug abuse. However, Haskins died under the influence.
Jamal Edwards, DJ and owner of SB.TV died at the age of 31 following a heart arrythmia caused by drug abuse. The celebrity died suddenly at his mother’s home, and it was first reported as a heart attack. However, the toxicology report and an inquest found that the heart attack was the result of significant cocaine use.
In 2021, four celebrities died of drug-related causes. As with 2022, there may be many more drug-related celebrity deaths but for privacy reasons, their families may have opted to keep the autopsy and reasons for death private.
DMX, critically acclaimed rapper and actor, died in 2021 at the age of 50. The artist, who had habitually used crack cocaine since the age of 14, died of a cocaine-induced heart-attack, during which he suffered from cerebral hypoxia (oxygen deprivation in the brain) and entered a coma. Over the following 24 hours, he lost functionality in most of his organs and was pronounced dead later that day.
The singer’s drug overdose is solely attributed to the cocaine found in a urinalysis and no autopsy was performed.
His tragic and sudden death is also similar to that of many others who abuse stimulant drugs, which overload the heart.
British footballer / soccer player Steve Jagielka died in March of 2021 following a drug-overdose. The star, who was probably in recovery for drug addiction, overdosed on methadone. While it’s unknown what the motivations for taking methadone in larger quantities were, Jagielka developed aspirational pneumonia. Combined with cocaine in his system, he died.
Shock G, hip hop artist and musician, died at age 57 in Florida, after a drug and alcohol overdose. The star was found dead in his hotel room and was taken to emergency care but was declared dead the following day. His cause of death was later revealed to be an overdose, involving fentanyl, methamphetamine, and alcohol. Whether Shock G intentionally ingested fentanyl or it was a contaminant in the methamphetamine he was taking is not known.
However, the stars sudden death is just one of 67,325 deaths caused by fentanyl in 2021.
Actor Michael K Williams of The Wire was found dead in his apartment in September of 2021 by his nephew. The artist was declared dead, and an autopsy revealed he had suffered an overdose involving fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. Like Shock G, it is most likely that the fentanyl was used to cut the heroin, and Williams was unaware he was taking the drug. He died at the age of 54.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, it’s important to reach out and to get help. Drug abuse is always dangerous, even if you think you’re taking something relatively safe. Cocaine and other “non-addictive” drugs create risks of organ damage and heart attack, opioids can cause an overdose and are very often mixed with stronger opioids like fentanyl to reduce costs for the supplier, and mixing drugs increases chances of something going wrong. Every time you use, you put yourself at risk.
Treatment including behavioral therapy and counseling can help you to overcome not only cravings for substances, but also to treat the underlying causes behind substance abuse. Modern drug addiction treatment works to help you tackle trauma, triggers, behavioral problems, and mental health disorders that push you to using drugs, so you can build a healthy life without them.
Everyone who abuses drugs or alcohol is at risk. Professional treatment can help you to rebuild your life without those risks and without needing substances to cope. Recovery will always take time and ongoing investment, but professional help can give you the tools to get started and to rebuild your life.