Friday, June 26, 2009

Prescription X

As anticipated, Farrah Fawcett succumbed to her cancer yesterday with her partner Ryan O’Neil and her attending physician, who insured she was free of pain, right at her side. She was 62. Not remotely anticipated was the sudden demise of Pop Icon Michael Jackson at the age of 50. Estimates run at four to six weeks for what most know is the focal point of the story - the toxicology report.

Jackson has the signature profile of someone who could have serious prescription medication issues. The list of drug related deaths is long and dominated by musicians, actors and actresses, writers and songwriters, performers, and other artists. Consider the following small sample of those who took prescription X. After the name is the age at death and the drugs found in their system.

John Belushi (33) speedball (cocaine and heroin)
Lenny Bruce (40) morphine
Chris Farley (33) speedball
Judy Garland (47) secobarbital
Andy Gibb (30) cocaine, alcohol
Margaux Hemingway (41) phenobarbital
Jimi Hendrix (27) vesperax
Heath Ledger (27) oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, doxylamine
Janis Joplin (27) heroin
Marilyn Monroe (36) chloral hydrate, Nembutal
Jim Morrison (27) heroin
Morrison’s girlfriend Pamela Coursen (27) heroin
Chris Penn (40) premethazine, codeine
River Phoenix (23) speedball
Anne Nichole Smith (39) chloral hydrate, clonazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, diazepam, taprimate, diphenhydramine.
Smith’s son, Daniel (20) Zoloft, lexapro, methadone
Sid Vicious (21) heroin
Hank Williams (29) uncertain, most likely morphine and alcohol

And of course we have the original king who reportedly spent over a million dollars per year on medication.

Elvis Presley (42) codeine (10x toxic level), morphine, methaqualone, diazepam, ethinamate, ethchlorvynol, amobarbital, pentobarbital (two types), meperidine, phenyltoloxamine.

I would distinguish between speedball stupidity and the chronic decline into prescription drug hell. Something is amiss with the ultra famous and prescription medication. I can see how someone in the trusted inner circle, perhaps well meaning (and perhaps not), might suggest "one of these" to cope with "the pressure" and the downward spiral begins. Presley's death could almost be considered mercy.

Michael Jackson is a complex subject, so I am asserting nothing. Perhaps medication had nothing to do with his cardiac arrest at 50, but one of his attorneys is already talking about it, and what's up with the disappearance of his doctor?

In any case, I imagine Michael and Elvis could have quite the conversation. Perhaps they are together now and comparing notes.


Blogger TexPatriate said...

Based on your list above, it appears that Prescription X is fame.

I also submit that there are quite a few that have not yet succumbed to the madness, but are well within its arms. I fear for us, as a society, that we would rather be medicated than put on our big people undies and deal with our problems.

6/26/2009 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jackson's medical situation is about to become front page news and will stay there long after we're sick of it. People who become huge cash cows attract the vampires eager to get a fang in a neck. I won't even try to describe the circus that surrounded Jackson, but the theme holds for many others. Mike Tyson is another example.

For a time, Elvis Presley had an agent that got 50% of his earnings, and for a time Elvis was pure puppet. The agent ran his life.

I was a lot more surprised by the death of Heath Ledger than I am by this. Not to slam a person right after death, but the guy had issues. I obviously don't know what was in his system at time of death, but you can bet he's taken a boatload of stuff over the years.

He wore out.

6/26/2009 2:02 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

I've been listening to Jimi Hendrix a lot lately.

As for musicians who died too soon, two that I feel really sad about are Sam Cooke and Jimi Hendrix. Neither of them were even close to their prime, and all we really have is a glimpse of what might have been.

Perhaps the same could be said for Hank Williams, Sr.

Elvis and Michael Jackson were both on the downside of spectacular stardom when they died. Jackson was getting ready for his big comeback tour, and it would not be surprising that he was abusing painkillers. Apparently, he was trying to duplicate what he was physically capable of in his 30s.

Addiction is a really terrible thing, however one arrives there, and however it manifests itself.

6/26/2009 2:14 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

First of all, Sirocco, BIOPIC MY ASS!!

OF COURSE Jackson had a serious medication issue. I don't know much, but the guy was odd even before he caught fire in the Pepsi commercial, which was actually a serious accident that hurt him badly.

I might be wrong, Tex, but I read "Prescription X" as one's lethal concoction of choice.

Remember when x4mr posted Junkies on Junk? That post was funny as hell.

Perhaps oversimplifying, some people rise to the heights in a fashion where they can handle it once there. These include Paul Newman, Bill Gates, Oprah, Bono, the google guys (so far), Madonna, Julia Roberts, Robert Redford.

These are contrasted with those that just unravel and go nuts slowly or quickly. Maybe I'll offend someone, but while he died at 50, Jackson may have left reality as much as a decade ago.

Anon is right. We are going to be inundated and drowned with a litany of material about "What killed Michael Jackson?" and "Who was Michael Jackson?" and "Michael Jackson's Five Favorite Dogs" and "Drugs taken by Michael Jackson" and on and on including all of the legal entanglements of who has what and who owes who what ad nauseum.

6/26/2009 3:13 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...


Heh! ;)

That is all.

6/26/2009 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis and ex-wife of Jackson (is reality weird or what?) has posted at her blog that Jackson knew he would meet his end just like her father.

6/26/2009 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prescription X for MJ:

Michael Jackson (50) Demerol, Oxycontin, Zoloft, Xanax

6/27/2009 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Another Anon said...

Chopra is also commeting about MJ's addiction.
The truth will soon be out.
Wonder if the Jackson family will come clean about Autopsy #2.
It's just more and more bizarre.

6/28/2009 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Investigators confiscated two grocery bags of prescription drugs in his house.

Grocery bags.

6/29/2009 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now it appears he may have intentionally OD'd (but not planning to die) to get out of his contract.


7/02/2009 6:20 AM  
Blogger gracer said...

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7/27/2009 11:40 PM  

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