Updated on April 2, 2019
Rapper found to have nearly a dozen drugs in his body
Underscoring the dangers of mixing Xanax with opioids, the medical examiner has ruled that a combination of fentanyl and alprazolam (the generic form of Xanax) is what led to Lil Peep’s death in November while on tour.
In addition to that deadly combination, the 21-year-old also tested positive for marijuana, cocaine, Tramadol and a checkerboard of opiates including hydrocodone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), oxycodone and oxymorphone.
The rapper was scheduled to perform in Tuscon that evening, but was found unresponsive on his tour bus before the concert was to have started.
In his last video posted on social media the afternoon before he died, Lil Peep was seen taking all kinds of different pills, and already very high.
Police investigated some Twitter activity surrounding Lil Peep’s death. According to law enforcement sources, investigators were interested in a series of Twitter DMs sent from a woman named Mariah Bons, who was believed to have gone to Peep’s tour bus not too long before he died.
She allegedly sent a message to a friend that said, “GBC [Lil Peep] high af because of me and my friend lol.” Bons also allegedly wrote in another message, “He passed the f**k out my brother called and I tried to get him to say hi to my brother but he wouldn’t wake up…”
“Uppers,” “Downers,” and Mixing Multiple Drugs to Get High
One of the reasons Lil Peep’s death may have seemed especially shocking and perhaps out of the realm of ordinary experience was the fact that he did not overdose on one drug but on at least two and potentially more. If a mixture of the opiate fentanyl and the benzo drug alprazolam is what technically killed him, he had also been taking marijuana, cocaine and a variety of opiates. In short, he had been using and mixing multiple drugs.
This practice of mixing multiple drugs to get high— also known as “polydrug abuse” in the addiction treatment field— is far more common among drug users than you might think. In one study of club-hopping, drug-using young adults, more than 90 percent of them had engaged in polydrug abuse. Strikingly, too, the 400 study participants together reported having used a total of 1,670 different drug combinations.
Two of the most common trends among drug users is to combine:
- an “upper” like cocaine or another stimulant in combination with heroin (a “downer”);
- or, two sedating drugs in order to intensify and prolong the sedative effects of both drugs.
In the immediate lead-up to his death, Lil Peep chose the latter combination— two potent sedatives, fentanyl and alprazolam, a recipe for overdose. In this way, Lil Peep was not alone: in this country, 30 percent of overdoses from opiates like fentanyl also involve a benzodiazepine drug like alprazolam, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in March 2018. That may be why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now requires that both prescription opioids and benzos carry FDA “black box” warnings on their label, warning about the dangers of taking these two drugs together.
However shocking or outside of the norm Lil Peep’s death may have seemed, then, it followed a course that tragically far too many Americans take every day in this country. In this sense, Lil Peep’s death shines a light on the widespread problem of polydrug abuse and addiction.
Famous Faces in Recovery
If polydrug abuse and substance use disorders are prevalent in American society, they’re much more in the spotlight among celebrities like Lil Peep. Recently, Ben Affleck’s struggles with alcoholism after rehab have illuminated the importance of asking for help— even after relapse. Many other famous celebrities have been entangled with alcoholism and drug abuse. Just a quick survey of examples include Lamar Odom’s struggles, Robert Downey Jr.’s addiction in the early 2000s, and Heather Locklear’s rehab visits. The year 2018 saw many tragic celebrity losses but a growing number of celebrities are also in recovery, having turned their lives around and embarked on a more fulfilling path.
Getting Help for Addiction
While celebrities do suffer a high incidence of substance abuse occurrence, it’s important to understand the universality of their vices. Many people have lost loved ones to addiction. That’s why it’s so important to get help. If you or someone you love is going down a dangerous path, don’t wait one more day to ask for help. In today’s environment, you never know when a person’s next dose may be their last.
Our Neuro Rehabilitation approach helps address the root causes of addiction once and for all.