Substance Abuse Issues in the Music Industry

Each and every year it feels like we lose some truly special talent from the world of music or entertainment to substance abuse issues, and some years we lose a lot more than just one.

In the last 10 years we’ve lost dozens and dozens of once in a lifetime talents including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and more – all of them because of substance abuse issues that may have been prevented or resolved. And while researchers will tell you that alcohol and drug abuse is running rampant these days all throughout the general population, it doesn’t take an advanced degree from an Ivy League university to realize that the music and entertainment industry is hit significantly harder than most any other “niche community”.


For years and years now, professionals across a variety of different areas, including Berkeley Personal Injury Lawyers, have tried to figure out why substance abuse issues are so prevalent in the music and entertainment industry, and though many of them have come up with a variety of different answers they still cannot come to a general consensus.

Hopefully we’ll be able to shed a little bit of light on this incredible and heartbreaking issue, and maybe even provide a couple of resources for those looking to get help so they don’t end up as just another statistic.

Substance abuse issues run rampant in the music and entertainment industry

There is no small amount of professionals in the music and entertainment industry that have come clean about their substance abuse problems, including megastar celebrities like Robert Downey Jr. The individuals that are able to beat back the substance abuse demons are rather candid about their long journey to redemption, and many of them point to a “perfect storm” of conditions that lead them to get into these sticky situations in the first place.

Robert Downey Jr. in particular has outlined why he believes he was so easily able to dive headfirst into the world of substance abuse at a young age as a celebrity, stating that he was young, impressionable, flush with cash, and feeling alone because of the isolation a job in the entertainment industry brings to the table.

Traveling all of time makes it difficult to create long-lasting and healthy relationships, and when you combine that with the fact that these industries in particular are so cut-throat and competitive – just overflowing with competition and someone waiting in the wings to steal the spotlight – it’s easy to see why so many succumb to the pressure and turn to substance abuse to help them “mellow out”.


On top of that, these young professionals are almost always surrounded by “yes men”, people that are less interested in making sure that they lead happy, healthy, and successful lives as they are in making sure that their bread is buttered along the way.

These perfect storm conditions can lead to a whirlwind of substance abuse, even for those that appear to have absolutely everything going for them..

Why are celebrities so likely to fall victim to substance abuse issues in the first place?

Though we’ve outlined some of the most common reasons that celebrities, musicians, and entertainers get sucked into the world of substance abuse, another common reason is because they are pulled into that kind of lifestyle, the “celebrity lifestyle” and that’s just part of the game.

This is very much a tight-knit community of individuals that are incredibly creative, incredibly wealthy, and very influential from a young age – many of which are nervous about their position in life, whether or not their talent is as “real deal” as they have been led to believe it to be, and struggling with all of the stress and pressure that a life in the public eye brings to the table.

Many musicians have built up an almost mythos surrounding drug abuse and how it influences creativity, with some musicians claiming that they simply would not be the artist that they are without the help of chemical substances to tap into as a muse. While it’s impossible to discount this out of hand entirely, the truth of the matter is they are in a very dangerous and precarious situation that usually ends up in a nightmare more times than not.

What kind of help is there available to those in the music and entertainment industry looking for a way out?

At the end of the day celebrities have a variety of outlets and resources that they are able to tap into when they want to battle back from substance abuse issues. Their managers, their agents, and their friends and family all have vested interest in making sure that they are able to get back on track – and they almost always have the funds and resources to do so at the top facilities available.