Celebrity Meth Users

By Joyce Beaverton, Addiction Counselor

Illicit drugs are a fixture in the entertainment industry, and meth is among the most popular substances for a variety of reasons. From actors to musicians and even professional athletes, meth use is rampant among those in the spotlight. Young celebrities are particularly vulnerable to succumbing to meth addiction because they tend to struggle with their newfound fame.

Perhaps the most notorious celebrity meth addict at the moment is Amy Winehouse. Reports are unclear as to whether the singer is doing crack cocaine or methamphetamine, although the answer is probably both. The singer's infamous fall from a rising starlet to a helpless addict was well documented by the paparazzi. Winehouse spent years going in and out of rehab and nearly died of an overdose several times. As a result, her career had to be put on hold while she got her personal affairs in order. The singer claims to have been sober since 2008, but she has yet to make a big comeback in the music world.

While Winehouse's troubles have been made very public, she is certainly not the only musician addicted to meth. Rocker Eddie Van Halen entered a rehabilitation facility in 2007 for methamphetamine addiction shortly after he survived a serious bout with cancer. The legendary guitarist also drank heavily and reportedly got involved with meth to stay awake during tours. This is a fairly common story among musicians because they often work long, odd hours during road trips as well as world tours. Meth gives them the energy they need to keep going when they are physically exhausted.

There are countless references to the drug in popular songs, and certain types of music seem to promote meth at times. Hip hop and techno music are associated with methamphetamine because some artists mention the drug in their songs, album titles, and pseudonyms. Additionally, the pulsating beats complement being high on speed. The name Method Man is a variation of the term crystal meth. The rapper of Wu-Tang Clan fame has a forthcoming album called, "The Crystal Meth." Another Wu-Tang member, Chef, earned his street name by making or "cooking" meth. The techno group The Crystal Method is an electronic group that admits to naming themselves after the illegal substance. Rappers DMX and TI were both arrested for possession of methamphetamine, albeit in separate incidents. Rock has its share of meth fans, too. Southern California rockers Sublime wrote about "tweeking," which is a slang term for being under the influence of speed. The iconic Metallica song Master of Puppets is a slightly concealed metaphor for meth, which explains the group's popularity among speed users. There are plenty of not-so-subtle classic rock lyrics about meth; artists such as the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, the Velvet Underground, and many more wrote about taking amphetamines for recreational purposes.

When it comes to actors and actresses, the examples of celebrity meth addicts abound. Lots of actors go in and out of drug treatment programs, though these stints are typically the result of a court order. Tom Sizemore's battle with amphetamine addiction landed him in jail numerous times. Sizemore epitomizes a brilliant actor gone wrong, and his drug habits have lead to other things, such as domestic violence. His estranged girlfriend and fellow meth devotee Heidi Fleiss appeared together on the TV show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew despite a previously existing restraining order. Sizemore proved difficult to work with throughout the series, but today credits Dr. Drew's recovery program for helping him achieve sobriety at long last. His career has taken a back seat as he continues to sort out his personal issues. The same can be said for Heidi Fleiss. Fleiss became a household name after a federal investigation into her Hollywood prostitution ring. When she got out of the California justice system, she relocated to Nevada where she was eventually arrested with a large amount of methamphetamine.

Young actresses are pressured to maintain an unhealthy body weight, so meth's ability to suppress appetite without causing lethargy makes it attractive to them. Consequently, there are more female performers hooked on meth than males. Tabloid tales of actresses in drug induced crisis never seem to miss mentioning Lindsay Lohan. The troubled starlet became blacklisted in Hollywood for her out of control behavior. Her attorney denies her meth addiction, but she entered a treatment facility that specializes in amphetamine detox in 2010. She's been photographed snorting cocaine as well, and her drunken escapades likely indicate alcoholism. Lohan may have bi-polar disorder on top of a prescription of the ADHD drug Adderall. Individuals with bi-polar disorder are often attracted to meth because it mimics the effects of the manic part of the condition. Child actress Jodie Sweetin, of Full House fame, ended up addicted to speed, alcohol, and ecstasy. She briefly lost custody of her child as a result of this. Sweetin wrote an autobiography detailing her downward spiral as a part of her recovery process. Her former co-stars, the Olson twins, made headlines for drugs and eating disorders.

Models deal with the same kind of expectations in terms of their weight. Former beauty queen turned law student Kumari Fulbright shocked the nation when she found herself implicated in a violent robbery/kidnapping. Her frightening mug shot served as a visual representation of the anti-drug message to the youth of America. Athletes deal with similar physical demands, along with the added exhaustion of constant exercise. The intense activity level of his schedule had tennis pro Andre Agassi doing meth. He did not divulge his addiction until the end of his career. He kept his stimulant habit a secret because amphetamines are considered performance enhancing drugs. Crystal meth is very dangerous when someone is doing cardiovascular activities. Increased heart rate is a side effect of stimulants as well as working out. When the two are combined, they can cause cardiac arrest. Meth also makes people sweat profusely. People perspire during exercise naturally, and the sweating from the drug may leave the user dangerously dehydrated. Agassi claims to have used the drug recreationally, but experienced drug counselors know that there is really no such thing. Methamphetamines are too habit forming to be taken casually or in a controlled manner.

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