Heath Ledger

Actor’s death was a warning shot of the coming opioid crisis

In terms of the opioid crisis, 2008 – when Heath Ledger died from an overdose, was a time of innocence and even ignorance.

Now with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that Ledger was just at the beginning edge of a wave of opioid related overdoses that would claim dozens of celebrities and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans.

As reported in the Huffington Post, in 2008, the whole concept of prescription drug overdose mystified most Americans. Because really, how could a patient overdose on medication prescribed by their doctor? Adding to the confusion was the man himself. Ledger wasn’t a track-marked street junkie or a rail-thin rock star. Ledger looked like he was bursting with health and youth. And his career was blossoming ― “The Dark Knight” was just months away from opening in theaters.

We didn’t know what it was, yet, but for many of us, Ledger’s death felt like something new.

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To read more about how our understanding of the opioid crisis has changed in the 10 years since Heath Ledger’s overdose death, please visit The Huffington Post.

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