2014—The Year in Celebrity Drug Stories

By McCarton Ackerman 01/23/15

From bizarre product placements to tragic deaths, The Fix looks at 15 of the most prominent celebrity drug-related stories of 2014.

Scott Disick Enters Rehab

The baby daddy of Kourtney Kardashian was shown entering rehab this year during an episode run last month from Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons. After one particularly rowdy night, in an episode that aired in November, Disick appeared to still be under the influence the next morning. After falling over and having difficulty forming sentences, his bodyguard has to physically pick him up and carry him to bed. Disick then asks his friend if they can take more sleeping pills together. 

Kardashian had previously told him that he’s an alcoholic and wanted there to be “ground rules” related to his partying since he’s a father to their children. She was also shown earlier in the season kicking him out of their summer home. “Unless you want to be sober, then I don’t want you here,” she said. “And if you want to die, then you can continue to act this way.”

Disick entered rehab for five days, acknowledging that he had been drinking to cope with the death of his parents, both of whom had passed away within the last year. He reportedly stopped drinking cold turkey afterwards, but it remains to be seen if he can keep it up now that the couple has welcomed their third child earlier this month.


Melissa Etheridge Launches Cannabis-Infused Wines

Celebrity endorsements of marijuana products are normally reserved for rappers, but Melissa Etheridge got into the game by helping launch a line of “cannabis-infused fine wines.” Partnering with Santa Cruz-based medical marijuana dispensary Greenway Compassionate Relief, her passion project has already resulted in 90 cases of cannabis wine being available to those with a medical marijuana card. However, the creation can only be referred to as a “wine tincture” for legal reasons. Etheridge has become a staunch medical marijuana advocate after using the drug during her battle with breast cancer in 2004. Although she used it initially to help alleviate feelings of nausea during chemotherapy, she has continued to use it as a health aid ever since. 

"Once I considered it medicine, I became much more interested," she said. "I've taken it into my lifestyle to keep stress levels down and my G.I. system up. It's been messed up since chemo."


Lil Za Arrested Twice In One Day

The aspiring rapper and former live-in BFF of Justin Bieber managed to be arrested twice in one day this January. Lil Za (real name: Zavier Smith) was initially arrested for drug possession after police found cocaine during a raid of Bieber's home in California, which was done in connection with a felony search warrant. Although reports later stated that the confiscated drugs were actually Molly and Xanax, police cleared Bieber of any connection to them. But Lil Za was then slammed with vandalism charges after reportedly smashing a phone inside his holding cell. His bail was increased from $20,000 to $70,000, but he posted it and was then released.


Justin Bieber Busted For DUI

His outrageous antics in the months prior made it seem like a question of when, not if, the Biebs would end up being arrested, but he received his first mugshot in Miami last January. The Canadian singer was charged with drunk-driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license after being pulled over in a rented Lamborghini. Bieber was initially pulled over after being caught racing at speeds of 60 mph in a 30 mph zone, but Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez reported that the smell of alcohol wafted from his car and that he was later belligerent towards officers. After failing a roadside sobriety test, he admitted to consuming alcohol, smoking marijuana and using prescription drugs before getting behind the wheel. 

Although rumors of him being addicted to marijuana and Sizzurp abounded in the following months, it appears that Bieber is trying to turn over a new leaf. He has been spotted attending Bible classes, as well as taking up tennis and cycling in an effort to spark a healthier lifestyle. 


Janice Dickinson Relapses On ‘Botched’

The former supermodel and Celebrity Rehab participant appeared to visibly relapse last June during an episode of the E! series Botched. She underwent reconstructive surgery to fix "ripples" in her breasts, but appeared woozy and slurred her words when she visited Dr. Terry Dubrow for a follow-up. Dickinson alternated between tearful and combative, crying for more painkillers and then, after Dubrow told her most people were on aspirin three days after surgery, declaring she "didn't give a shit about most people." The doctor later said that Dickinson was his "most difficult patient" in his 25 years practicing and that her antics were "classic drug-seeking behavior." The former supermodel told The Fix in February 2012 that she had remained sober since her time on Celebrity Rehab and had been regularly attending meetings.


Scott Stapp’s Wife Claims His Public Meltdown Was Fueled By Drugs

The lead singer of Creed was worth $30 million after his band sold over 50 million albums in the late '90s and early 2000s, but declared in a rambling Facebook video last November that he was broke and homeless due to an IRS error. His wife, Jaclyn, declared that the once-sober rocker was now abusing amphetamines, crystal meth and steroids. His 16-year-old son Jagger also wrote on Twitter that "my father once again chose drugs over his family. He needs help, but refuses to get it. He's been on a 9 week binge." Stapp insists that he's sober, but has displayed disturbing behavior lately. He was placed on an involuntary psych hold in November and audio was leaked earlier this month of a voicemail he left to the principal of his son's school, declaring that the school would soon be the victim of an attack from ISIS. Stapp has also reportedly lost custody of his children. He told The Fix in December 2013 that he had been sober, barring sporadic relapses, for over three years.


Michael Douglas’ Son Released From Solitary Confinement

The son of actor Michael Douglas was released from solitary confinement after nearly two years. Cameron was sentenced to five years behind bars after his girlfriend smuggled him heroin while on house arrest, but an additional four and a half years was added to his sentence after he was caught smuggling drugs into prison on several occasions. Addiction experts slammed the decision to nearly double his sentence, particularly since he wasn't being offered drug treatment, but it wasn't until his father referenced him during his 2013 Emmy speech that any progress was made.

Michael declared in the speech that "if you happen to have a slip, you would get extra punishment. In my son's case, he has spent almost two years in solitary confinement...I'm questioning the system." But while Maryland's Cumberland Corrections Federal Institute didn't make it clear whether his parents would be allowed to see him, they did confirm he now has visitation rights. 


Chris Brown Kicked Out Of Rehab, Sent To Jail

After years of highly public and sometimes violent outbursts, Chris Brown ended up in jail last March after being kicked out of court-ordered rehab. He was sent to rehab just weeks after being arrested in October 2013 for felony assault after getting into a fight outside of a hotel in Washington, D.C., which was a violation of his probation for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. But after refusing a drug test and leaving the facility on an unauthorized outing, among other infractions, he was booted from the rehab center. He was sentenced in May to 131 days behind bars, including time already served, but was released the following month after serving 108 days. 

He later blamed his aggressive behavior on an addiction to a “hood cocktail,” otherwise known as a concoction fusing codeine cough syrup with Xanax and soda. “I was falling asleep on video sets, I was cussing people out randomly. I was doing crazy stuff,” he told New York’s Hot 97 Radio. "I was doing crazy stuff. I would wake up and be like, 'Aye, man, what time we shooting this video?' And they would be like, 'Dude, we shot it yesterday.' I'd be like, 'Damn!'"


Phil Rudd Charged With Drug Possession, Murder Plot

The AC/DC drummer was charged last November with possession of methamphetamines and cannabis, but his alleged drug use may have sparked the far more serious charge of orchestrating a murder plot. Rudd was arrested in New Zealand for allegedly plotting a murder last September and even hiring a hitman to kill two other men. A police raid of his home eventually led to finding the drugs in question. He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted on the murder plot charge, but recently slammed the accusations against him as “ludicrous” and vowed that “I’m going back to work with AC/DC, and I don’t care who likes it and who doesn’t.”


Philip Seymour Hoffman Dies From Drug Overdose

The prolific actor and director tragically passed away in his NYC apartment on Feb. 2., 2014. Investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his left arm and he was pronounced dead at the scene. A law enforcement source claimed he was “shooting up in the bathroom.” Police also found nearly 50 envelopes of heroin marked “Ace of Spades,” 20 used syringes in a plastic cup, several bags containing an unknown white powder and numerous prescription drugs. 

Hoffman had spiraled into drug use after graduating from NYU before attending rehab at age 22 and remaining sober for 23 years. He had completed a 10-day detox in May 2013 after admitting he had been abusing pills for over a year and heroin for about a week.


Peaches Geldof Follows Mom’s Fate, Dies From Drug Overdose

Best known as a British socialite and TV presenter, Geldof died on April 6 from a heroin overdose. A police investigation found numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia in her home including nearly seven grams of heroin, burnt spoons and 79 syringes. Her one-year-old son, Phaedra, had been left with the body for 17 hours before husband Thomas Cohen arrived at the house.

Geldof’s death tragically followed that of her mother, Paula Yates, who died at age 41 from a heroin overdose in 2000. The socialite had struggled with substance abuse throughout her life and had been receiving drug treatment in the two years before she died, but Cohen told police he had observed her flushing hidden drugs down a toilet. Her final interview before her death showed Geldof revealing that she being a mother had been a “healing process” to help her “correct those awful parts of my childhood.”


Jackie Chan’s Son Arrested On Drug Charges

Jaycee Chan, 32, was arrested in August after a police raid of his Beijing home, along with Taiwanese actor Kai Ko. Chinese media reported that he tested positive for marijuana and 100 grams of pot were confiscated from his home, leading to a formal charge of Jaycee using his home as a “shelter” for others to take drugs in. His trial is expected to begin next year and he could face three years in prison if convicted on all charges. Jackie, who served as a goodwill spokesman in 2009 for the China National Anti-Drug Committee, offered a “deep bow of apology” for his son’s arrest. He said he hoped Jaycee “could become an anti-drug spokesman and tell his experiences to young people.” 


Michael Phelps Busted For DUI Again, Enters Rehab

Ten years after his first DUI, Olympics gold medalist Michael Phelps was busted for drunk driving once again on Sept. 30. After being pulled over for driving 84 mph in a 40 mph zone, he failed a series of roadside sobriety tests and blew a .14, nearly double the legal limit. USA Swimming responded by suspending Phelps from competition for six months, in addition to pulling him from the Long Course World Championship Team. Phelps quickly responded and announced he would be entering rehab.

"I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself,” he wrote on Twitter. Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual.” He has since completed rehab and is back training for competitions next year.


Elizabeth Vargas Relapses, Re-Enters Treatment

The ABC News reporter first attended rehab in November 2013, but admitted to a relapse last August and went back into inpatient treatment. "As so many other recovering alcoholics know, overcoming the disease can be a long and incredibly difficult process," said Vargas in an emailed statement. "I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry." ABC confirmed that she was receiving treatment for alcohol addiction and said they would welcome her back “when she feels ready to return.”

Last February, Barbara Walters apologized to Vargas after declaring on an episode of The View that her alcoholism was a well-known secret in the business and that “we all knew” before she went public.


David Cassidy Busted For DUI…Again

The former Partridge Family star was busted for DUI last January, his third time since 2010. Cassidy blew nearly double the legal limit and failed roadside sobriety tests after being pulled over by a highway patrol officer. His manager chalked up his latest DUI to “pressure” stemming from legal issues, but the judge in his case was unimpressed. He ordered Cassidy to 90 days of rehab, five years of probation and a nine-month alcohol education program. The actor apologized to the court for his conduct and said he also planned to enlist the help of a sober coach. Cassidy was previously busted for DUI in August 2013 after blowing a .10 in Schodack, NY, while on vacation with his girlfriend.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.