ByJeremy Dressler, writer at

It's a rumor, a lie, the truth. A powder, a rock, a pill. It's a paste across a table, a lab in a back yard, a machine at a pharmaceutical plant. It's the reason why so many more stars fill the sky than they do the screen.

It's also no secret that so many celebrities throughout cinematic history have used drugs and alcohol as an escape from the cruel and real world that they so often feel the desire to portray. Some celebrities do so to escape the fame, others do so in order to find their way, and while some indulge when faced with a troubled past, many of these shooting stars with such fire behind them do so for perhaps the saddest reason of all, "everyone else is doing it".

Though it is thought that the rise of the film industry heightened the use of drugs in Hollywood, drugs like amphetamine and heroin have lurked in the shadows since the late 1800's and it wasn't until the 1930's that these drugs began to consume the hosts in which they dwelled.

Drugs like amphetamine were more medically popular during the roaring 20's but it was the decades that followed that this addictive plague would spread like wildfire through the Hollywood system becoming a norm among celebrities who could afford to live such a lethal lifestyle.

According to, (whose website published an article called, "The Drug Culture of Hollywood's Golden Age) delves into the history of Hollywood's drug culture. It cites that from 1930 to 1960 the studio system contracted individual stars to represent a particular studio and uphold the studio's reputation through the actions of each celebrity contracted. However studios themselves were known to supply drugs to stressed out stars, who were made to do multiple films at a studio's command, even though they would cast out any star who was found to be involved in any scandal that could taint the studio's reputation.

One such victim of this degrading and unethical system was Judy Garland, probably best known for The Wizard of Oz.

Not only was she given Amphetamine to cope with a life of "all work and no play", she was also given Barbiturates to help her sleep. As if the exhaust-ably long and never ending work wasn't enough to make her tired. Judy Garland went on to construct a body of work but sadly died in 1969 of a barbiturate overdose. She left behind three kids, the famous Liza Minnelli age 23, Lorna Luft who was months from turning seventeen, and Joey Luft who was only fourteen years old.

Judy Garland wasn't the only one to suffer this fate, the "all work and no play" Janice Joplin, a world renowned singer and songwriter, and Jimmy Hendrix a famous guitar player both died at age 27 from drug intoxication and overdose.

The spread of this deadly disease took many lives. Over the decades other talented and emotionally moving people such as John Belushi, River Pheonix, and Chris Farley passed away due to the use of drugs.

Although so many have been subject to the disease of drug abuse, some have been lucky enough to fight through it's soul wrenching grasp. Famous actor Samuel L. Jackson overdosed three times before realizing it was time to make a change.

Stories like Sam Jackson's can seem inspiring for a while but the sadness goes on as it always will with life full of it's peaks and valleys. Not even sixteen years into the new millennium and the lives of many successful and talented people have already fallen. Singers Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, along with her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown who both died in a bathtub, and actors Britney Murphy, Heath Ledger, Cory Monteith, Phillip Seymour Hoffman among others who also died due too the use of drugs. Even Skye McCole Bartusiak (the girl who played Mel Gibson's youngest daughter in 'The Patriot') died at just twenty-one years old after she accidentally overdosed from a combination of pills and the huffing of a refrigerant that can be found in household products. This deadly combination was apparently her struggle to cope with seizures she had suffered from her whole life.

It's a sad life not just for those who aspire to be great but more so for those who actually do. People with a life in the business of fame pray and work to make their dreams come true but when they get to the top it undoubtedly becomes more of a struggle, and it has and while some become addicted because someone says, (come on everyone else is doing it) it is the financial gain that keeps them in the dreamy but deadly environment allowing them to slowly meet their demise through what some would call, "living it up".


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