Cory Monteith, Glee actor, was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver recently from a heroin and alcohol overdose. He was frank about his long history of struggles with addiction beginning as a teenager, using “anything and everything” by the time he was 16. Most recently, he checked himself into rehab just this past March.
As a doctor who treats opiate addiction every day in my ofﬁce in San Francisco, I see many accomplished people like Cory who are working hard to get and stay clean.
Unlike the myth of addicts being complete train wrecks — barefoot and disheveled — my patients are high-functioning. They are lawyers, computer programmers, housewives, construction workers and entrepreneurs. They work, raise families and contribute to their communities.
I help each of them plan for relapse because the likelihood is so high and the risks are so deadly. After a period of being clean, the body’s tolerance for opiates lowers and doses previously used become deadly.
Sadly, it’s not entirely surprising that Cory’s overdose came after a recent rehab.