Home > All Posts > Famous People Who Have Been Addicted To Opiates

Famous People Who Have Been Addicted To Opiates

Just some random information…


Throughout the past hundred-plus years, a variety of famous people have battled addiction to opiates. Whether their drug of choice was heroin, vicodin, or even opium itself, these celebrities often paid a terrible price for their addiction. Some maintained their drug addiction privately, others were branded as addicts before the world’s eyes, while for others, their addiction cost them their lives.

Famous Opium Users

Marcus Aurelius – The Roman Emperor initially used the drug for medicinal purposes, but likely became addicted to it at some point during his reign over Rome.

Charles Dickens – The author of A Tale Of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol was addicted to opium for many years and used the drug heavily right up to the time of his death (by massive stroke).

Bela Lugosi – The star of hundreds of early horror films was a frequenter of several underground opium dens and also used morphine excessively during his life.

Florence Nightengale – It was discovered after her death that the most famous nurse who ever lived was a notorious opium user.

Famous Heroin Users

John Belushi – One of the greatest comedians of his generation Belushi dies of n accidental overdose on a powerful speedball – a dangerous mixture of heroin and cocaine.

Kurt Cobain – Lead singer of the band Nirvana, Cobain used heroin to escape from the stress brought on by sudden fame. Eventually, he would succumb not to an overdose, but a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Washington home.

Janis Joplin – The iconic singer of the 1960’s was a major heroin user. She was forced to cancel shows often because she was too heavily under the influence to take the stage.

Billie Holiday – Arguably one of the greatest torch song singers who ever lived, Holliday was never able to overcome her addiction to heroin. She also used opium while on the road appearing in sold-out concerts.

River Phoenix – The up-and-coming young actor died of an heroin -speedball overdose outside the Viper Room nightclub in Hollywood Phoenix was on his way to becoming a true A-list star in the film industry when he died.

Famous Painkiller Users

Rush Limbaugh – After rumors would not subsist, the conservative talk show host was forced to admit he had a severe prescription drug addiction, including Oxycontin and Vicodin.

Carrie Fisher – Screenwriter and Star Wars Trilogy star Fisher admitted in her autobiography that she had abused prescription painkillers repeatedly throughout her long and illustrious career.

Elvis Presley – The King of Rock And Roll died in the mid 1970’s from a drug overdose. An autopsy later found massive amounts of various prescription painkillers in his system when he died at his Graceland home.

Categories: All Posts
  1. jessica
    January 12, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    its very addicting dont do it…=(

  2. June 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Dr. William Halsted – a founder of the Johns Hopkins medical center – aka “the father of modern surgery.”

    See: “Some Eminent Narcotics Addicts” – Edward Brecher, Licit and Illicit Drugs, Chapter 5, Consumers Reports Magazine, 1972. Available:


    Thanks for the thread… Enjoy!

    Alex DeLuca, M.D., MPH
    War on Doctors/Pain Crisis blog

  3. October 24, 2008 at 9:38 am

    It feels very bad to see famous people getting addicted to things like this.. They must be an example to their future generation.. After all we learn from “famous people”

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