Sara Bellum
July 17 2013
Photo credit: DFree / Shutterstock.com

This past weekend, Hollywood was shocked by news of “Glee” star Cory Monteith’s unexpected death. He was only 31 years old.

Back in April, SBB talked about Cory returning to rehab to deal with drug abuse issues that plagued him off and on since his teen years. Unfortunately, autopsy results showed that Cory died of a heroin and alcohol overdose, highlighting in the most tragic way how drug addiction often follows a cycle of recovery and relapse.

From the accounts of people who knew and worked with Cory, he sounds like he was a really great person—a loyal friend and devoted actor. It goes to show that drug addiction doesn’t just happen to “bad” people like some may believe. All types of people—rich and poor, man and woman, old and young—are equally at risk to be hurt if they start using drugs.

The Danger of Relapse

Relapse happens when a person who was addicted to drugs stops taking them for a while and eventually starts up again. Often, people who are recently out of rehab overdose more easily if they relapse because being off the drug for a while lowers their tolerance. They may take the same dose they were accustomed to before rehab and their bodies can’t handle it.

Heroin is especially dangerous. Not only is heroin a strong drug, but every dose a person buys may be a different purity, or strength. So even if a person takes the same amount of heroin, it might be so strong that he or she overdoses.

The fact that Cory had both heroin and alcohol in his system when he died highlights another important fact: Mixing substances is never a good idea. Heroin and alcohol both slow down breathing and heart rate, making the mix particularly hazardous.

A person who is overdosing can be saved if they get medical care in time, since symptoms of overdose are clear—shallow breathing, weak pulse, and loss of consciousness, for example. But if a person is alone at the time, as Cory was, overdose can result in death.

Cory Monteith was a talented actor and singer with millions of young fans. Now is the time for teens to ask questions about drug addiction and overdose—so let us know in comments if you have any and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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