Substance abuse

drug abuseabusedrug use
According to BBC, "Worldwide, the UN estimates there are more than 50 million regular users of morphine diacetate (heroin), cocaine and synthetic drugs." More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017. Among these, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and (> 29,000 deaths). See charts below.

List of deaths from drug overdose and intoxication

Cocaine and heroin combined caused fewer deaths than prescriptions drugs in the United Kingdom in 2013, and fewer deaths than prescription opiates alone in the United States in 2008., the drug most likely to cause fatal overdose in Australia was diazepam (Valium). While fatal overdoses are highly associated with drugs such as opiates, cocaine and alcohol, deaths from other drugs such as caffeine are extremely rare. This alphabetical list contains 599 notable people whose deaths can be reliably sourced to be the result of drug overdose or acute drug intoxication.


morphiamorphine addictionmorphine sulfate
Diacetylmorphine (better known as heroin) was synthesized from morphine in 1874 and brought to market by Bayer in 1898. Heroin is approximately 1.5 to 2 times more potent than morphine weight for weight. Due to the lipid solubility of diacetylmorphine, it can cross the blood–brain barrier faster than morphine, subsequently increasing the reinforcing component of addiction. Using a variety of subjective and objective measures, one study estimated the relative potency of heroin to morphine administered intravenously to post-addicts to be 1.80–2.66 mg of morphine sulfate to 1 mg of diamorphine hydrochloride (heroin).

John Belushi

JohnJoliet" Jake BluesBelushi
The cause of death was combined drug intoxication involving cocaine and heroin, a drug combination known as a speedball. In the early morning hours on the day of his death, he was visited separately by friends Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, as well as Catherine Evelyn Smith. His death was investigated by forensic pathologist Michael Baden, among others, and, while the findings were disputed, it was officially ruled a drug-related accident. Two months later, Smith admitted in an interview with the National Enquirer that she had been with Belushi the night of his death and had given him the fatal speedball shot.

Poly drug use

polydrugpolydrug usein combination
Combined drug intoxication. Drug overdose. Lacing. Recreational drug use. Responsible drug use. Speedball (drug).

River Phoenix

RiverRiver Jude
On October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed and died of combined drug intoxication following a drug overdose on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room at the age of 23. At the time of his death, Phoenix was acting in Dark Blood (2012). Phoenix was born on August 23, 1970 in Madras, Oregon, the first child of Arlyn Dunetz and John Lee Bottom. Phoenix's parents named him after the river of life from the Hermann Hesse novel Siddhartha, and he received his middle name from the Beatles' song "Hey Jude". In an interview with People, Phoenix described his parents as "hippieish".

Layne Staley

LayneLayne Staley TributeStaley
The autopsy and toxicology report on Staley's body revealed that he died from a mixture of heroin and cocaine, known as speedball. The autopsy concluded that Staley died on April 5, two weeks before his body was found. Staley's death was classified as "accidental". Staley's Alice in Chains' bandmates issued the following statement: It's good to be with friends and family as we struggle to deal with this immense loss... and try to celebrate this immense life. We are looking for all the usual things: comfort, purpose, answers, something to hold on to, a way to let him go in peace. Mostly, we are feeling heartbroken over the death of our beautiful friend.

Mitch Hedberg

In May 2003 he was arrested in Austin, Texas, for heroin possession. On March 30, 2005, Hedberg was found dead in a hotel room in Livingston, New Jersey. The New Jersey medical examiner's office reported "multiple drug toxicity" in the form of cocaine and heroin as the cause. Hedberg's death was formally announced on April 1, 2005, leading some to believe it was an April Fools' Day joke. His funeral was held at St. Ambrose of Woodbury Church in Minnesota. Hedberg had been interviewed by Jonathan Davis in the December 2001 issue of Penthouse. In the interview, published three years before his death, he was asked, "If you could choose, how would you end your life?"

Ken Caminiti

He died of a cocaine and heroin (a speedball) drug overdose on October 10, 2004. Caminiti was born in Hanford, California on April 21, 1963 to Yvonne and Lee Caminiti who had another son, Glenn and a daughter, Carrie. He starred in football and baseball at Leigh High School in San Jose, California, where he graduated in 1981. In football, he was invited to many all-star games after his senior football season. He attended San Jose State University where he played baseball for the Spartans in 1983 and 1984. Caminiti was signed as a 3rd round pick in the 1984 amateur draft by the Houston Astros.


A 1999–2005 Australian police survey of detainees reported preliminary findings that self-reported users of benzodiazepines were less likely than non-user detainees to work full-time and more likely to receive government benefits, use methamphetamine or heroin, and be arrested or imprisoned. Benzodiazepines are sometimes used for criminal purposes; they serve to incapacitate a victim in cases of drug assisted rape or robbery. Overall, anecdotal evidence suggests that temazepam may be the most psychologically habit-forming (addictive) benzodiazepine.

Trevor Goddard

An autopsy later showed that Goddard died from a drug overdose of heroin, cocaine, temazepam and vicodin.

Recreational drug use

recreational drugdrug usedrugs
Drugs that are "sniffed", or "snorted", include powdered amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, ketamine and MDMA. Additionally, snuff tobacco. intravenous injection (see also the article Drug injection): the user injects a solution of water and the drug into a vein, or less commonly, into the tissue. Drugs that are injected include morphine and heroin, less commonly other opioids. Stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine may also be injected.

List of Autopsy: The Last Hours of... episodes

* Lists of people by cause of death * List of deaths from drug overdose and intoxication


Ethosuximide and perampanel can also produce euphoria at therapeutic doses. µ-Opioid receptor agonists are a set of euphoriants that include drugs such as heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and fentanyl. By contrast, κ-opioid receptor agonists, like the endogenous neuropeptide dynorphin, are known to cause dysphoria, a mood state opposite to euphoria that involves feelings of profound discontent. Cannabinoid receptor 1 agonists are a group of euphoriants that includes certain plant-based cannabinoids (e.g., THC from the cannabis plant), endogenous cannabinoids (e.g., anandamide), and synthetic cannabinoids.

Chris Farley

ChrisThe Gelfin
An autopsy revealed that Farley had died of an overdose of cocaine and morphine, a combination called speedball. Advanced atherosclerosis was cited as a "significant contributing factor." Farley's death has been compared to that of his SNL idol John Belushi, who died at the same age of a similar combination of drugs. A private funeral was held for Farley on December 23, 1997, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin.


Cocaine is an SNDRI. Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca shrub, which grows in the mountain regions of South American countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. In Europe, North America, and some parts of Asia, the most common form of cocaine is a white crystalline powder. Cocaine is a stimulant but is not normally prescribed therapeutically for its stimulant properties, although it sees clinical use as a local anesthetic, in particular in ophthalmology. Most cocaine use is recreational and its abuse potential is high (higher than amphetamine), and so its sale and possession are strictly controlled in most jurisdictions.

Myocardial infarction

heart attackheart attacksacute myocardial infarction
MIs are less commonly caused by coronary artery spasms, which may be due to cocaine, significant emotional stress, and extreme cold, among others. A number of tests are useful to help with diagnosis, including electrocardiograms (ECGs), blood tests, and coronary angiography. An ECG, which is a recording of the heart's electrical activity, may confirm an ST elevation MI (STEMI) if ST elevation is present. Commonly used blood tests include troponin and less often creatine kinase MB. Treatment of an MI is time-critical. Aspirin is an appropriate immediate treatment for a suspected MI. Nitroglycerin or opioids may be used to help with chest pain; however, they do not improve overall outcomes.

Drug withdrawal

withdrawalwithdrawal symptomswithdrawal syndrome
F14.3 cocaine withdrawal. F15.3 caffeine withdrawal. F17.3 nicotine withdrawal. Chemical dependency. Craving, a psychological withdrawal symptom. Drug detoxification. Drug tolerance. Hangover. Neonatal withdrawal. Withdrawal syndrome.


Amphetamine is known to strongly induce cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) gene expression, a neuropeptide involved in feeding behavior, stress, and reward, which induces observable increases in neuronal development and survival in vitro. The CART receptor has yet to be identified, but there is significant evidence that CART binds to a unique G i /G o -coupled GPCR. Amphetamine also inhibits monoamine oxidases at very high doses, resulting in less monoamine and trace amine metabolism and consequently higher concentrations of synaptic monoamines.


fentanyl citratefentanyl intranasalfentanyl, cocaine
Some heroin dealers mix fentanyl powder with heroin to increase potency or compensate for low-quality heroin. In 2006, illegally manufactured, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl often mixed with cocaine or heroin caused an outbreak of overdose deaths in the United States and Canada, heavily concentrated in the cities of Dayton, Ohio; Chicago; Detroit; and Philadelphia. Several large quantities of illicitly produced fentanyl have been seized by U.S. law enforcement agencies. In June 2006, 945 grams (2.08 lbs) of 83%-pure fentanyl powder was seized by Border Patrol agents in California from a vehicle that had entered from Mexico.


opioidsopioid analgesicendogenous opioids
In 1874 he became the first person to synthesize diamorphine (heroin), using a process called acetylation which involved boiling morphine with acetic anhydride for several hours. Heroin received little attention until it was independently synthesized by Felix Hoffmann (1868–1946), working for Heinrich Dreser (1860–1924) at Bayer Laboratories. Dreser brought the new drug to market as an analgesic and a cough treatment for tuberculosis, bronchitis, and asthma in 1898. Bayer ceased production in 1913, after heroin's addictive potential was recognized. Several semi-synthetic opioids were developed in Germany in the 1910s.

Cannabis (drug)

The short term effects of cannabis can be altered if it has been laced with opioid drugs such as heroin or fentanyl. The added drugs are meant to enhance the psychoactive properties, add to its weight, and increase profitability, despite the increased danger of overdose. Heavy, long-term exposure to marijuana may have biologically based physical, mental, behavioral and social health consequences and may be "associated with diseases of the liver (particularly with co-existing hepatitis C), lungs, heart, and vasculature". It is recommended that cannabis use be stopped before and during pregnancy as it can result in negative outcomes for both the mother and baby.

Opioid overdose

heroin overdoseoverdosedrug overdose
Examples of opioids include morphine, heroin, fentanyl, tramadol, and methadone. Symptoms include insufficient breathing, small pupils, and unconsciousness. Onset of symptoms depends in part on the route opioids are taken. Among those who initially survive, complications can include rhabdomyolysis, pulmonary edema, compartment syndrome, and permanent brain damage. Risk factors for opioid overdose include opioid dependence, injecting opioids, using high doses of opioids, mental disorders, and use together with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or cocaine. The risk is particularly high following detoxification. Dependence on prescription opioids can occur from their use to treat chronic pain.

Rush (psychology)

These drugs include opiates and opioids, such as heroin and morphine, and psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Studies have shown that the subjective pleasure of drug use (the reinforcing component of addiction) is proportional to the rate at which the blood level of the drug increases. Intravenous injection is the fastest route of administration, causing blood concentrations to rise the most quickly, followed by smoking, suppository (anal or vaginal insertion), insufflation (snorting), and ingestion (swallowing). Dopamine. Reward system.

Insufflation (medicine)

Insufflation (insufflare) is the act of blowing something (such as a gas, powder, or vapor) into a body cavity. Insufflation has many medical uses, most notably as a route of administration for various drugs.