Sylvester Stallone’s son, Sage Stallone died amid fetid squalor. The only constant in his life was an apparent steady supply of prescription drugs that ultimately cost him his life. It’s another case of Hollywood’s prescription pill epidemic.
From Michael Jackson to Heath Ledger, prescription pills have been at the root of a growing number of celebrity deaths. But the feelgood doctors who prescribe them and the pharmacies that provide them always seem to go unpunished.
Celebrities Who Died From Prescription Drug Overdoses
Marilyn Monroe, 36, Actress
DOD: Aug. 5, 1962
Drugs: Pentobarbital (AKA Nembutal) and chloral hydrate (sleeping pills) High levels of two barbiturates were found in her blood.
Dorothy Dandridge, 42, Actress
DOD: Sept. 8, 1965
Drug: Imipramine, AKA Tofranil (antidepressant) The first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, died from “acute drug intoxication.”
Jimi Hendrix, 27, Guitarist
DOD: Sept. 18, 1970
Drug: Secobarbital, AKA Seconal (sleeping pill). Died from “inhalation of vomit” after “barbiturate intoxication (quinalbarbitone).”
Bruce Lee, 32, Actor
DoD: July 20, 1973
Drug: Equagesic (painkiller) Allergic reaction to painkiller equagesic and muscle relaxant meprobamate.
Keith Moon, 32, Drummer, The Who
DOD: Sept 7, 1978
Drug: Clomethiazole, AKA Heminevrin (sedative); Died from accidental overdose at 10 times allowable limit; used to treat alcohol withdrawal.
Steve Clark, 30, Guitarist, Def Leppard
DOD: Jan. 8, 1991
Drugs: Unspecified antidepressant and painkiller; Died from accidental “excessive intake of anti-depressants, alcohol and Valium.
Margaux Hemingway, 42, Actress
Date: July 1, 1996
Drug: Phenobarbital (anti-seizure sedative); Died from overdose in a suicide.
Dana Plato, 34, Actress, Diff’rent Strokes
Dod: May 8, 1999
Drugs: Carisoprodol, AKA Soma (muscle relaxant), and Vicodin (painkiller); Died from accidental overdoes of two drugs. Arrested for forging prescriptions in 1992.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard, 36, Wu-Tang Clan
DOD: Nov. 13, 2004
Drug: Tramadol (painkiller); Died from accidental overdose combined with cocaine.
Anna Nicole Smith, 39, Actress, model
DOD: February 8, 2007
Drugs: Eleven drugs, including chloral hydrate (sleep aid) and several sedatives/muscle relaxants: clonazepam (AKA Klonopin), lorazepam (AKA Ativan), oxazepam (AKA Serax) and diazepam (AKA Valium) Died from acute drug intoxication.
Heath Ledger, 28, Actor
DOD: Feb. 6, 2008
Drugs: Six drugs: painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone, sleep aid temazepam and sedatives diazepam (AKA Valium), alprazolam (AKA Xanax) and doxylamine. Died from accidental drug overdose
Michael Jackson, 50, Singer
DOD: June 25, 2009
Drugs: A virtual pharmacopia of drugs, but died from acute propofol intoxication administered by Dr. Conrad Murray, who was ultimately convicted.
Adam Goldstein, 36, aka DJ AM
DOD: Aug. 28, 2009
Drugs: crack cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, lorazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, diphenhydramine and levamisole; Died from acute drug intoxication. Eight drugs, seven of them prescription, were found in his system.
Brittany Murphy, 32, Actress
DOD: Dec. 20, 2009
Drugs: Hydrocodone, acetaminophen, L-methamphetamine (not meth) and chlorpheniramine; Died from pneumonia exacerbated by drug use.
Whitney Houston, 48, Singer, actress
DOD: Feb. 11, 2012
Drugs: Cocaine, Lorazepam, Valium, Xanax, and sleeping medications; Died from drowning exacerbated by drug use.
Sage’s body went undiscovered for as long as four days before he was found Friday in his Los Angeles home, according to new reports. While an investigation is underway, he’s believed to have overdosed on prescription pills found at the scene.
The 36-year-old filmmaker reportedly lived like a hermit in his Studio City home. His room was described as “disgusting.” A housekeeper had orders never to enter the room or knock on the closed door.
Yet, Stallone apparently had no problem obtaining significant quantities of drugs that can only be prescribed by a doctor. Celebrities who can see their careers go up in smoke if busted with illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin have turned to pills provided by a medical doctor.
A friend said he never even knew Sage to do drugs and insists his death was accidental. “I saw him two weeks ago and he seemed great. He was healthy and upbeat and didn’t seem depressed at all,” the friend told gossip site radaronline. “I never knew him to do drugs, not even weed, so for him to die from an overdose is kind of shocking to me. I am totally stunned.”
A number of prescription bottles were found, according to reports. The scene has been played out all too often. Jackson reportedly obtained pills under five different names. Because they are prescription medicines, abusers all too often don’t take warnings seriously.
Deaths from accidental drug overdoses (not including alcohol) have risen steadily since the early 1970s, and over the past ten years have hit historic highs, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
People are dying at twice the rate of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1990s and five times the rate of deaths from the heroin epidemic on the 1970s, the government says. More than 6 million Americans are estimated to be abusing prescription drugs.
Pills can be fatal if taken together or mixed with alcohol. Without action to attack the source, rogue doctors and pharmacies, the epidemic is likely to continue.