Friday, July 19, 2013

Ulster Prevention Council Weekly Blog 7-19-13: Mourning Another Loss

When we use "icebreaker" activities with a group, one of my favorite exercises is sharing something that no one in the group knows about you. Today I have two things to share.

First, I am a Gleek.  A Gleek is a fan of the Fox TV show Glee. Cory Monteith, 31, was one of the stars of this musical comedy, playing football quarterback and glee club member Finn Hudson. Cory died this week from an overdose of heroin and alcohol, after sharing his struggle with addiction when he entered treatment this spring. You may be a bit more surprised to learn that I was also a fan of Amy Winehouse, the British singer and songwriter who tied the record for Grammy Award wins in a single night. The BBC called her "the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation". However, her struggles with addiction were well publicized, as evidenced by her hit single "Rehab". By summer 2011, she had fallen into a pattern of abstaining for a few weeks and then relapsing. One such relapse led to her death by alcohol intoxication. Her blood alcohol content was 0.416% at the time of her death.
While your "favs" may differ from mine, today I decided to stop and reflect on some of the celebrities we have lost to overdoses and the brain disease of chemical dependency. This list is not at all exhaustive, but it speaks for itself.
Marilyn Monroe – American actress, model, singer, sex symbol, 36. Her death, due to an overdose of barbiturate sleeping pills, was ruled as a “possible” suicide, 1962.
Janis Joplin - American musician, 27, heroin overdose, 1970.
Jimi Hendrix - American musician and singer-songwriter, 27. Respiratory arrest, asphyxia due to alcohol and barbiturate overdose; vomit inhalation, 1970.
 Bruce Lee - Martial artist, actor, film director, Prescription drug overdose at 32 in 1973.
John Belushi – Actor, comedian, musician. Died in 1982 at age 33 after injecting a mixture of cocaine and heroin.
River Phoenix – American actor. Died at 23 of a heroin an cocaine overdose while in the presence of his younger brother Joaquin in front of the trendy Viper Room, 1993.
Heath Ledger – 28. Died of an accidental overdose of oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, diazepam, temazepam and doxylamine, 2008.
Mary Anissa Jones –Buffy from “Family Affair.” Drugs found in her system include Seconal, PCP, methaqualone and cocaine.
Lani O’Grady –Mary on “Eight is Enough,” died in 2001 at the age of 46.  Found in her system at the time of her death were Vicodin and Prozac.
Chris Farley – Overdosed in 1997; combination of morphine and cocaine; complicated by heart disease.
Judy Garland – American actress and singer.  Died in 1969 at the age of 47 of an overdose of barbiturates (Seconal). Possible suicide.
Anna Nicole Smith – American model, Playboy playmate, actress, 40. Died in 2007 of “combined drug toxicity" due to chloral hydrate and benzodiazepines.
Elvis Presley – Found dead in his bathroom at 42. Heart arrhythmia, possibly aggravated by multiple prescriptions (methaqualone, codeine, barbiturates, cocaine), 1977.
Nick Cantor – The Dirty Dancing actor died after injecting a shot of pure heroin in 1991.
Robert Pastorelli – The Murphy Brown actor died of a heroin overdose in 2004 at the age of 50.
Brad Renfro – American actor, 25. Died of a heroin overdose in 2008.
Christopher Bowman - American figure skater, 40, Mixed alcohol, cocaine, diazepam and cannabis, 2008.
Christopher Wiley Antley - Jockey; 2-time Kentucky Derby winner. Overdose of clobenzorex, paroxetine, methamphetamine, carbamazepine and trauma (accidental),  age 34, 2000.
Darrel Porter - Professional baseball player, cocaine overdose, 2002, age 50.
Derek Boogaard - left wing, New York Rangers, 28, alcohol and oxycodone overdose, 2011.
Douglas Glenn Colvin, aka Dee Dee Ramone - American songwriter and musician (The Ramones), 50.  Heroin overdose (accidental), 2005.
Edward Fatu “Umaga” - Samoan-American professional wrestler, 36. Overdose of hydrocodone, carisoprodol, diazepam, 2009.
Michael Carl Baze - Horse jockey, 24. Overdose of cocaine and oxymorphone, 2011.
Michael Jackson - American Pop Singer and icon, 50. Cardiac arrest, acute propofol intoxication; midazolam, lidocaine, diazepam, lorazepam also noted in autopsy report, 2009.
Whitney Houston - American singer, actress, 48. Drowning; complications of cocaine and heart disease; Flexeril, marijuana, Xanax and Benadryl also found in body but did not contribute to death, 2012.
Chris Kelly - of the 90s hip-hop group Kriss Kross, died at the age of 34 of an overdose that included heroin and cocaine, 2013.

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council