Cite this article

NIDA. (2010, September 30). Celebs & Drugs: A Cycle of Arrests & Rehab . Retrieved from

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Sara Bellum
September 30 2010
Woman holding her hand in front of her face

SBB was sad to see that celebrities Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan got arrested again for drug possession and drug use. This is an old story by now—a celebrity gets in trouble over and over again for substance abuse, their most recent mug shot is on every gossip Web site, they go into rehab for a few days or a week. Repeat cycle.

Paris’ Story

In 2006, Paris Hilton was arrested and charged with drinking and driving. She was given probation, but then sentenced to jail for violating her probation. In July 2010, she was detained in South Africa for possession of marijuana, but the case was dropped.

And most recently, she was arrested in Las Vegas, when officers witnessed a bag of cocaine fall out of her handbag. The 29-year-old agreed to a plea deal for a fine and community service. She also has to complete a drug rehabilitation program, instead of a 1-year jail sentence.

Lindsay’s Story

And then there’s Lindsay Lohan. In mid-September 2010, less than a month after being granted an early release from rehab, Lindsay was arrested after she failed a pair of court-mandated drug tests. The 24-year-old actress could face another 30 days in jail for violating her probation.

On Twitter, Lindsay wrote, “Substance abuse is a disease, which unfortunately doesn’t go away overnight.” She has checked herself back into rehab—her fifth trip in 3 years.

All this brings up the question we hear a lot at NIDA: why don’t celebs seem to learn from their mistakes?

Recovery Takes Time

Celebrities are no different from anyone else. When you add drugs to the equation, it is harder to make good decisions and get back on the right path. It takes a long time to get clean and stay clean. Here are some things people who want to stop using drugs can do.

  • Seek treatment. A person who uses drugs often needs professional treatment to quit using. This can include medication or "talk therapy," or a combination of both.
  • Avoid triggers. The science shows that cravings never go away for good, especially when certain “triggers” happen. Your brain remembers the “high” from the drugs and certain experiences can trigger cravings that are hard to control—like seeing a person using cocaine or smelling a marijuana cigarette.
  • Find new friends. It’s important to stop spending time with friends who use drugs. Paris Hilton, for example, was with her boyfriend at the time of her arrest. He was behind the wheel of an SUV when police reportedly smelled marijuana. He failed a field sobriety test and was also arrested. If you’re trying to stay off drugs, hanging out with people who use or in places where drugs are used is not going to get you there. Even if you stop using and get counseling and treatment, it is important not to hang out with your old friends who are still using.

Roxy Olin’s Story

Some celebrities who have had problems with drugs or alcohol are great role models for being in recovery. At the press conference launching Recovery Month 2010, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Roxy Olin—an actress on MTV’s “The City” and ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters”—spoke about her drug addiction and her time in rehab. She was there for 9 months and has been in recovery for 3 years. Her parents are supportive, she goes to AA, and she works hard at her recovery.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for drugs or alcohol, visit SAMHSA’s online treatment facility locator. To learn more about addiction, see NIDA’s publication, Drugs, Brains, and Behavior—The Science of Addiction.