Amidst recent news, Demi Lovato was hospitalized after suffering from an apparent opioid overdose on Tuesday, July 24th. After being treated with Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, her condition has been described as stable, with her now both awake and responsive. Demi is not necessarily new to this type of scene, as she has struggled throughout her youth with her mental health, addiction, and eating disorders. While still remaining massively successful, Demi has been fighting demons within her, as shown throughout her newest song “Sober”, she admitted that she has began drinking again after getting sober post treatment. Demi Lovato’s story shows us that drug addiction and overdose does not discriminate and can happen to anyone no matter their level of success, fame, or how many people they have behind them. There are numerous celebrities all throughout the entertainment industry who have survived overdose, many you may have never imagined.
Celebrities who have survived overdose
Mika-photography (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mika-photography), Eminem (cropped), CC BY-SA 3.0
Eminem, the wildly successful rapper has faced struggles with an addiction to painkillers all throughout his career, going through rehabilitation, relapse, and even experiencing a near-death overdose. In 2007, Eminem nearly died from an accidental overdose after on the drug methadone, collapsing on his bathroom floor and putting him into the hospital. Leading up to the overdose, Eminem said “My whole month of December leading up to [the overdose], I don't remember shit,” he said “All I remember is I was not able to get out of bed.” Not long after he would find himself waking up in the hospital, looking death in the eye. Eminem reflects on the incident, saying “Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died. My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything...They didn't think I was going to make it, My bottom was going to be death.” Following this near death overdose, Eminem sought help from rehabilitation counselors and detoxed. His difficult times facing addiction have inspired much of his music, especially his album Recovery, which he dedicated to those who are in a dark place, reminding them to keep their heads up and that things will get better.
Brooke Mueller, Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife and known media personality has a very long history of drug abuse, with sources claiming she has entered rehab a total of 20 times. In terms of overdoses, she has also faced multiple, including two within a six year span that both required hospital treatment. Mueller has overdosed on varying substances, ranging from crystal meth to adderall. Mueller has twin sons with ex-husband Charlie Sheen, who has also had his fair share of difficulties which has lead to custody battles. Today, Mueller is living in a sober, relaxed life in Salt Lake City, Utah with her sons. Mueller’s mother, Moira Fiore commented on her current condition, telling Entertainment Tonight “I’m really proud of how well Brooke is doing after her treatment plan and being a full-time mom again. She’s very committed to being the best mom and staying healthy.”
Demi Moore, actress, songwriter, and model known for her famous roles in movies such as GHost and Charlie’s Angels, has also experienced extreme lows as she has dealt with substance abuse. Moore’s battle with addiction has been lifelong, beginning in her teenage years. In the mid-1980’s Moore was advised by the director Joel Schumacher to seek drug and alcohol rehab prior to shooting his movie St. Elmo’s Fire, or else she would be fired. It has been reported that during the time Moore also had a near death overdose while under the influence of cocaine, convulsing and needing to be rushed to the hospital. Many years later, in 2012 Demi had a similar experience, but this time she collapsed and seized after ingesting nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. She was again rushed to the hospital and began getting treatment for addiction as well as anorexia. Addiction runs in Moore’s family as her mother and stepfather were alcoholics, and the gene has passed onto Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ daughters. Since this incident, Demi as well as her daughters have gotten sober, and while addiction is a lifelong disease they are very supportive of one another on their paths to recovery.
Pink, the pop sensation known for her hits “So What” and “Raise Your Glass” also began her journey with addiction in her early teenager years, suffering an overdose at just 15 years old. Pink has very openly discussed her past with drugs, revealing that she not only abused, but also sold hard drugs such as crystal meth as a teenager, at as young as 13 years old. She saw many close friends die from heroin overdoses in her youth, but this did not stop her from persisting. Pink reflected on her teenage years in drugs, saying “I wasn’t interested in school, sports, hobbies or any of the other supposedly healthy things kids should be into. I just wanted to get high. I was running wild and heading for a fall.” This fall came fast and hard, as she faced a near-lethal overdose in 1995 at 15 years old while under the influence of ecstasy, crystal meth, and acid. Pink remembers waking up the morning after the overdose, saying “It wasnt to the point of going to the hospital, but I remember getting up off the floor in the morning- and that was the last time I ever touched drugs again.” Today, Pink has lived up to this becoming wildly successful while remaining clean from drugs. Her struggles have served as inspiration in her career as a singer and songwriter, writing about the ongoing battle of remaining clean, as shown in her song “Sober”.
Lamar Odom, the now retired professional basketball player who was a part of the Los Angeles Lakers while they won back to back NBA championships, is likely one of the most known celebrities to have experienced an overdose. Odom’s overdose was extremely severe, coming tremendously close to death and being described as a miracle to have lived. Odom was found in a brothel near Las Vegas, passed out and immediately rushed to the hospital. With many drugs in his system, including cocaine and Viagra, Odom was in a coma for four days and suffered 12 strokes and 2 heart attacks in the Nevada hospital. Odom admitted to using cocaine everyday, whenever he had free time, at the time of his overdose. He reflected on waking up on the hospital, saying “When you’re an addict, nothing can get through to you. I never thought I was going to die. I never thought I’d be in a coma. I didn't think I had a problem. But then i woke up in a bed with tubes coming out of my mouth-- and it was real.” His now ex-wife Khloe Kardashian was told he only had four hours to live. Luckily, this overdose ultimately got Odom on the right track, as he now maintains sobriety. Odom opened up about his current life, that although he is sober, he faces temptations everyday, saying “I’m sober now. But it’s an everyday struggle. I have an addition. I’ll always have an addiction. It never goes away. I mean, I want to get high right now. But I know that I can’t if I want to be here for my children.”
The rapper Lil Wayne’s near death experience is slightly different than the others, as his substance of choice is one that is not often discussed. Lil Wayne has a history of consuming a beverage made up of cough syrup containing codeine, also known as “lean”, which has lead to seizures and necessary hospitalization. With a history of seizures and epilepsy dating back to his childhood, consumption of codeine puts him at a very high risk for disaster. In 2013, Lil Wayne suffered numerous seizures and had his stomach pumped 3 times to remove the large amounts of codeine found. At the time he was in very critical condition and placed into an induced coma. Lil Wayne’s struggle has shined light on the new, popular drug lean and the dangers that it brings.
What is Narcan
The medication used by first responders to resuscitate Demi Lovato was Naloxone, known under its brand name Narcan. Narcan, similar to Naltrexone (Vivitrol), can be used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, saving someone from potential respiratory arrest and death. Narcan is primarily given as an emergency shot that quickly blocks the effects of opiates on opiate receptors. It typically comes in a home kit that is simple to unpack and administer. Naloxone is a life saving medication that should be carried by all medical and law enforcement first responders.
Narcan works by flooding the body with Naloxone. This drug knocks the opiates off of the neurotransmitters in the body and binds to those receptors, blocking any opiates from landing on top of them. The drug can be taken as either a shot or a nasal spray. Its injectable form comes in varying quantities and is best given by someone who has training in giving shots. The drug is injected directly into the muscles at 1cc and should be accompanied by rescue breathing and continual monitoring.
How do you Administer Narcan?
Narcan in its injectable form comes in 1mL vials. Before injecting Naloxone you should first do one round of rescue breathing if the person is not breathing. Pop the lid off the vial of Naloxone and draw 1cc of naloxone into the syringe. Inject the the full amount into the person’s muscle, either the thigh, butt, or shoulder are best. Continue rescue breathing for 2-3 minutes afterwards and monitor their condition. If breathing does not return, then repeat the process again.
The nasal spray for Narcan should come with clear instructions on how to properly administer the drug. Anytime you give the nasal spray it should be accompanied by rescue breathing for 1 round prior. Once you have affixed the nasal atomizer together, tilt the person’s head back and spray half of the naloxone up one side of the nose, and half up the other side of the nose. If there is no breathing immediately after, you should do rescue breathing for 2-3 minutes and if there is still no reaction you can repeat the process.
Addiction truly is a disease that does not care who you are or where you come from, and these celebrities who have overdosed show us that no matter how perfect things may look from the outside you never really know what someone is going through behind closed doors. Many other celebrities have survived overdoses, such as Alec Baldwin, Fantasia Barrino, Burt Reynolds and Elton John. Unfortunately, not everyone who battles with addiction is lucky enough to survive their overdoses. Many beloved celebrities, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, and Elvis Presley have died from accidental overdoses on drugs or alcohol. If you or someone you love is facing an addiction or has experienced a near-death overdose, or you want to know what to do when someone relapses, there is treatment available for you.
At Landmark Recovery we have a team of highly qualified staff that is dedicated to helping you reach success through sobriety. Our facility offers inpatient/outpatient rehab, IOP, services regarding to help learn what’s an intervention, as well as detox. To learn more about services and programs offered by Landmark Recovery, reach out today to begin the journey to a life you dream, and deserve.