Thursday, June 22, 2017 by Bridgette Wilcox
The late actress Carrie Fisher may have taken a cocktail of hard drugs only a few days before her death. A toxicology report released six months after Fisher’s sudden death revealed that she had traces of cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy in her system when she died, TheGuardian.com reported. The report showed that the cocaine may have been taken just three days before she suffered the heart attack that resulted in her death.
However, officials could not determine whether these substances had a hand in the Star Wars star’s death, which has recently been attributed to sleep apnea and other factors. “Based on the available toxicological information, we cannot establish the significance of the multiple substances that were detected in Ms. Fisher’s blood and tissue, with regard to the cause of death,” the report said.
The coroner also found fatty buildup in Fisher’s arteries, which is a cause of cardiac arrest.
The 60-year old Fisher passed away in late December 2016. She was on a flight from London to Los Angeles when she suffered a massive heart attack followed by vomiting, DailyMail.co.uk said in a report. She received emergency care and CPR on the plane, and was rushed to the hospital when the flight landed in Los Angeles. She was then admitted to the intensive care unit at the UCLA Medical Center, where she remained in a stable but critical condition before dying a few days later, on December 27.
Following the release of the toxicology report, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd spoke out about her mother’s lifelong battle with addiction, Today.com reported.
“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life,” Lourd said. “She ultimately died of it…She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases. I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure.”
Fisher, who rose to fame playing Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise, had a high-profile struggle with drug addiction throughout her life. The star began to smoke marijuana at age 13, and was taking cocaine while filming The Empire Strikes Back. She also grappled with mental illness, taking various medications and undergoing electroconvulsive therapy to deal with bipolar disorder.
As Lourd said, Fisher spoke openly about her experiences in an effort to end the social stigma surrounding her conditions. In fact, Fisher wrote in detail about her substance abuse and mental illness in several memoirs.
“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls,” Fisher wrote in her autobiography, Wishful Drinking.
“At times being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication,” she wrote.
Those with mental illness are at higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse, which are also considered to be mental illnesses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The institute said that people with mental illnesses may end up abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, leading to the high rate of comorbidity between substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders.
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