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Postmortem toxicology findings from medicolegal investigations of drug-related deaths among the rich and famous
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Drug Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
2017 (English)In: Toxicologie Analytique et Clinique, ISSN 2352-0078, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 298-308Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents a review of medicolegal investigations of drug-related deaths among various Hollywood celebrities and popular music icons. The movie stars included: Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Chris Penn, Heath Ledger and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The musicians are exemplified by Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Sid Vicious, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Prince. The tragic drug-related death of Anna Nicole Smith, a sex-symbol and Playboy model, is also included. The illicit drugs mainly responsible for the fatalities were heroin and/or cocaine or a mixture of the two narcotics. Some of the celebrity deaths were caused by inappropriate use of prescription medications, mostly combined influences of one or more benzodiazepine together with an opiate or opioid pain medication. Polypharmacy increases the risk of adverse drug events and this sometimes causes a sudden and unexpected death. As tolerance to the pharmacological effects of drugs develop, the amounts taken (the dose) are increased, which enhances the risk of a fatal drug-drug interaction. Ethanol was implicated in some of the celebrity deaths, which underscores the dangers of excessive drinking when taking centrally acting drugs. In the case of Amy Winehouse, a talented jazz singer, she died from acute alcohol poisoning, because ethanol was the only psychoactive drug identified in postmortem blood. © 2017 Société Française de Toxicologie Analytique

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 29, no 3, p. 298-308
Keywords [en]
Alcohol, Celebrity deaths, Drug abuse, Intoxication, Overdose deaths, Poisonings, Polypharmacy, Toxicology, alprazolam, barbituric acid derivative, benzodiazepine, chloral hydrate, clomethiazole, cocaine, codeine, diamorphine, diazepam, doxylamine, ethinamate, fentanyl, hydrocodone, illicit drug, methaqualone, morphine, opiate, oxycodone, pentobarbital, promethazine, temazepam, vesparax, alcohol intoxication, anxiety, autopsy, binge drinking, bipolar disorder, death, depression, drug blood level, drug intoxication, forensic toxicology, gunshot injury, heart arrhythmia, human, insomnia, medicolegal aspect, musician, public figure, Review, sudden death, withdrawal syndrome
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-146398DOI: 10.1016/j.toxac.2017.04.001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85020427417OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-146398DiVA, id: diva2:1195991
Note

Export Date: 7 April 2018; Review

Available from: 2018-04-07 Created: 2018-04-07 Last updated: 2018-04-07

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Jones, A Wayne

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