7 Celebrities Who Overcame Heroin Addiction

Published on

It is not uncommon to find celebrities or people in the public eye who are addicted to heroin or other drugs and substances. However, many famous people who were addicted to heroin sought treatment and were able to overcome their addiction.

Celebrities Who Overcame Addiction

Celebrities who live their lives in the public eye and are under constant scrutiny sometimes find themselves caught up in alcohol and drug use as a result.

Some celebrities with heroin abuse problems have been able to overcome their addictions and lead successful lives, while others have sadly succumbed to their heroin addiction.

Famous Heroin Addicts Who Overcame Their Addiction

The following are a few famous celebrities with heroin addiction who were able to overcome their addiction and remain in a successful recovery.

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr., who first rose to fame in acting as a teenager, was introduced to drugs by his own father when he was just eight years old.

After various arrests for drug charges in the late 1990s, Downey Jr. was finally able to achieve sobriety after a 2003 stay in a residential rehab center.

Russell Brand

Russell Brand is a comedian and actor who first used heroin at the age of 16 and who struggled with addiction for many years.

Brand is almost 20-years-sober currently and frequently incorporates his former battle with addiction into his stand-up routine.

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie is a television personality, fashion designer, and actress who struggled with both cocaine abuse and heroin addiction as a teen and young adult.

After multiple arrests, Richie sought help in professional rehab centers and has been able to maintain her sobriety for many years.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton is a famous musician and guitarist who at different times struggled with addictions to heroin and cocaine, and also battled alcohol use disorder.

Clapton managed to get sober in the mid-1980s after the birth of his son and has been sober ever since.

Tatum O’Neal

Tatum O’Neal was the youngest person to ever win an Oscar, at the age of 10. Thrust into the spotlight at a young age, she has struggled with addiction on and off ever since.

O’Neal’s heroin addiction was so bad at one point that she lost custody of her children. After spending time in alcohol and drug treatment, she was able to get them back.

Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman was a popular child star who rose to fame in the 1980s and was introduced to heroin at a young age by a family friend who also sexually abused him.

As of now, Feldman has been sober from all drugs for more than 20 years and credits his success to the birth of his son.

Keith Richards

Keith Richards is the guitarist for the English band The Rolling Stones, and he was arrested multiple times for heroin possession in the 1970s.

Although Richards has not used heroin for several decades, he has often spoken of the benefits he found in using heroin.

Famous Heroin Addicts Who Never Overcame Their Addiction

Sadly, not every celebrity with a heroin addiction has been able to overcome addiction.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was the lead singer and frontman of Nirvana. He struggled openly for many years with an addiction to heroin.

Cobain was never able to overcome his addiction to heroin and eventually died by suicide in 1994 after numerous previous suicide attempts.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was a popular musician and songwriter in the 1960s whose struggles with heroin addiction grew along with her increasing fame.

Ultimately, her addiction only continued to get worse until she died from an accidental heroin overdose in 1970 at the age of 27.

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, an actress most popular for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, struggled with an addiction to heroin and prescription drugs for much of her adult life.

Fisher died in 2016 from cardiac arrest. In an interview she gave to Rolling Stone just before her death, she admitted to using heroin as a means to self-medicate for manic depression.

River Phoenix

River Phoenix was a child actor who later continued to rise in fame as a teen and young adult. Behind the scenes, he struggled with addictions to various drugs, including heroin.

Phoenix tragically died from an accidental overdose involving cocaine and heroin while at a nightclub with his friends and brother.

Why Is Heroin Addiction And Substance Use So Common In Hollywood?

It is common knowledge that many celebrities in the music and film industries struggle with various types of addiction.

Competitive And High-Stress Industry

Hollywood is notoriously competitive, with very few people who strive to be famous actually achieving their dream. This stress can lead many in the industry to self-medicate.

Pressure From Peers And Outside World

Famous people receive pressure and harsh criticism both from within and outside of their industry. The pressure is only intensified when it is combined with a lack of privacy.

Exposure To Adult World From A Young Age

Many people get their start in Hollywood as children or teenagers, who are then surrounded by adults and thus exposed to a very adult lifestyle from a young age.

Signs That Someone Is Addicted To Heroin

Someone who is addicted to heroin will likely show outward signs that affect both their physical appearance and their behavior.

Physical Signs

The physical signs of heroin addiction will become more difficult for a person to hide with continued use.

Some of these signs may include:

  • track marks
  • frequent sleepiness
  • runny nose
  • frequent illness
  • restlessness
  • frequent itching

Behavioral Signs

As heroin addiction becomes stronger, it can take over a person’s life, and the behavioral signs of heroin addiction can become more prevalent.

Behavioral signs of heroin abuse may include:

  • moodiness and irritability
  • financial problems
  • neglecting responsibilities
  • acting secretive or lying
  • owning drug paraphernalia
  • changes in friend group

Treatment Programs For Heroin Addiction

Seeking treatment for heroin addiction in a professional setting can make all the difference when it comes to successful recovery in the long term.


Detox is an integral part of overcoming any addiction disorder but can be especially true for heroin and other opioid use disorders.

Many rehab programs offer detox directly, while others expect people to complete this part of treatment prior to admission.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are often included as part of addiction treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

In addition to behavioral health therapies, more general therapies are also offered to address co-occurring mental health disorders as well.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment For Heroin Use Today

Celebrities with heroin addiction are hardly the only people who are living with drug addiction currently. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, please give our helpline a call.

We can answer any questions that you have about substance and drug abuse, as well as help you locate a quality treatment center nearby.


Canton, Massachusetts

Bedrock Recovery Center


Levels of Care:

Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

View Center Profile

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Ohio Recovery Center


Levels of Care:

Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

View Center Profile
Spring Hill Recovery Center


Detox Rehabs Logo