Cory Monteith Took Pain Meds For Dental Work Before Fatal Overdose

By Victoria Kim 07/20/18

“He had a lot of medication in his system, which was not good for his body coming out of rehab,” the actor's mother recently revealed.

Cory Monteith

The late actor Cory Monteith had been taking pain medication after a “massive” dental procedure he’d had not long before his fatal overdose on July 13, 2013, according to his mother Ann McGregor.

The Canadian actor, known for his role as Finn Hudson on the TV series Glee, died in a Vancouver hotel room from a toxic drug mixture including heroin, alcohol, and traces of morphine and codeine, according to the coroner’s report. He was 31 at the time.

Around the fifth anniversary of his tragic death, his mother discussed his use of pain medication post-dental work between May and July of 2013.

“He had a lot of medication in his system, which was not good for his body coming out of rehab,” she said, according to Washington, D.C.’s WENN. “He didn’t have enough drugs in his system to kill him, but for some reason it did because of his intolerance.”

Journalist and author Maia Szalavitz explained the effect that abstinence-based treatment programs like the one Monteith attended in the spring prior to his death will have on a person’s tolerance.

“Monteith followed the pattern of the 90% of opioid addicts who are coerced into 12-step recovery and denied an adequate period of maintenance treatment: He relapsed,” she wrote in her commentary, published in The Fix.

Szalavitz explained that the risk of overdose “is highest in the initial few months” after a period of abstinence, because a person’s tolerance to the drug will drop during that time.

Not only was the actor “likely not informed” about this heightened risk of overdose from his treatment program, he was not given the option to use medications specifically to aid his recover such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naloxone, which Szalavitz says would have dramatically reduced the risk of overdose.

When Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy discovered that Monteith was using again, he convinced the actor to enter a 30-day treatment program in April 2013, putting the show on hold.

Prior to that, the actor publicly discussed his near-decade-long recovery in Parade magazine in 2011, saying that he was “lucky to be alive.”

He first committed to sobriety at the age of 19. “I was done fighting myself,” he told Parade. “I had a serious problem.”

In his memory, his mother McGregor works to empower youth in the fine arts, through the British Columbia-based Amber Academy in Canada.

“Cory believed in prevention, rather than trying to fix people,” she said. “He wanted to give children opportunities to shine and feel good about themselves so they wouldn’t turn to drugs.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr