death of 38-year-old actor Corey Haim by an alleged prescription drug overdose has cast renewed light on the
question of whether an addict can truly “recover” — particularly in
light of accounts, including Haim’s, that he had cleaned up his life.
Haim was taken from his mother’s North
Hollywood home by ambulance to Burbank’s Providence St. Joseph Medical Centre
early Wednesday morning, where he died at about 3:40 a.m., according to police
Sgt. Frank Albarran.
struggled with cocaine and Valium addiction and reportedly was admitted to
rehab more than 15 times.
is a chronic disease, like diabetes, and unfortunately there is absolutely no
guarantee that a person will be cured,” said Mohamed Kabbaj, a neuroscientist
at Florida State University. “Even if a person goes through rehab they
will be faced with craving in certain situations and they can relapse anytime
— even after years of being sober
death was not the first death of a celebrity who many believed had cleaned up. Another example is celebrity DJ Adam
Goldstein, also known as DJ AM, who had a variety of painkillers and
anti-anxiety medications when he was found dead from an apparent accidental
drug overdose in August. He had claimed sobriety for 11 years.
many who have abused drugs and stopped may refer to themselves as
“recovered” or “cured,” doctors say may be abstention but
the addiction itself has not vanished
is no such a thing as ‘ex-drug addict’ label,” said Kabbaj. “When you
become addicted, you are addicted for life. You can only hope that you will
stay sober for a very long time.”
tragic death of the young actor, Corey Haim, reminds us that drug dependence is
a chronic, relapsing illness,” said Dr. Eden Evins, director of the Centre
for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Relapse is
common, even the norm. Relapse is usually preceded by strong drug craving that
is triggered by stress, small doses of the drug, or exposure to others using
drugs or to situations that remind the person of previous use. It is for this
reason that treatment that is extensive is much more effective than intensive
treatment that is of short duration.”