Carrie Fisher Had Illicit Drug Cocktail In Her System, Toxicology Report Shows

By Keri Blakinger 06/20/17

The iconic actress passed away in late December 2016, a few days after being discovered unconscious on an airline flight. 

Carrie Fisher

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher had heroin, methadone, cocaine and ecstasy in her system at the time of her sudden death last December, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner. 

The 60-year-old died of sleep apnea and other undetermined factors, the coroner said in a Friday release. But a toxicology review released Monday revealed the slew of illicit substances the celeb had taken in the days before her death. 

The report doesn’t clarify what role heroin played in her death. “The dose and time of exposure cannot be pinpointed,” the report notes. “Therefore we cannot establish the significance of heroin regarding the cause of death in this case.”

Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, issued a statement confirming the role of her mother’s drug use in her demise. 

“My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life,” Lourd told People on Friday. “She ultimately died of it. She was purposefully open in all of her work about the social stigmas surrounding these diseases.”

On Dec. 23, Fisher stopped breathing during a flight into Los Angeles. She’d been asleep most of the intercontinental trip, but as the plane neared its final destination, Fisher couldn’t be awakened.

When the plane landed, the beloved actress was rushed to the hospital where she spent four days on life support before passing away on Dec. 27. 

For more than 40 years, Fisher had struggled—often quite publicly—with the dual demons of bipolar disorder and substance abuse. Born to Tinseltown alums Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, the actress captured fame in her own right when at 19 she landed the plum role of Princess Leia in George Lucas’s Star Wars space saga. 

With the strain of celebrity came a series of public struggles, ones that Fisher never shied away from addressing, turning her personal problems into spotlights for advocacy and mental health awareness. 

“I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple—just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully,” she once told ABC News. “And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive.”

She became a stalwart fighter in the battle against mental health and addiction stigma, and eventually memorialized her own struggles in a semi-autobiographical novel, titled Postcards from the Edge

Even after her death, her daughter hopes the troubled actress would remain a figure in the world of mental health advocacy.

“She talked about the shame that torments people and their families confronted by these diseases,” Lourd said. “I know my Mom, she’d want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. 

“Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure. Love you Momby.”

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.