There is no doubt many Hollywood television and movie stars who regularly use drugs. It is enticing; after all, if you are rich and famous and you feel that the world is at your feet. Many people, including teen stars, often consume drugs to feel the same high that they feel when they are performing, as well as some who consume these drugs simply to get away from their problems and use it as an escape away from the issues that they have experienced.
For child stars, particularly, there has been a long and strong link between being a young star in Hollywood, and eventually using or being addicted to some sort of drug or alcohol. Whether due to the pressures of the outside world, the inability to accept their lowering fame as they grow older, or issues related to their being pushed into a career they are not prepared for, there are too many young actors and actresses taken far too early by drugs and alcohol.
In fact, there have been far too many teen stars left dead due to drug overdoses, including four major instances here (note that not all died while teenagers, though the problems no doubt exacerbated themselves directly from and because of their teenage fame):
Actor Brad Renfro had been a child star and teen heartthrob growing up, and was perhaps best known for his role in movies like The Client and The Cure, and even Tom and Huck. He died in 2008 from an overdose after he accidentally ingested far too great an amount of heroin, and was not able to survive.
Dana Plato was famous for her role on the popular TV series Diff’rent Strokes, and was an up and coming teen star on the scene. She allegedly committed suicide in 1999 by taking an overdose of painkiller pills, perhaps confirmed by the fact that she had previously attempted suicide several times in her life.
A promising young actor himself, and the brother of the now famous Joaquin Phoenix, River Phoenix appeared in such greats as Stand By Me. His death due to heroin overdose happened in an infamous manner outside Hollywood’s famous Viper Room, and shocked the entertainment community for a time.
Heath Ledger may not have been a teen star when he died, but he certainly started as a teen star, appearing as a heartthrob in Ten Things I Hate About You, and several other films as a teenager growing worldwide fame. He died in 2008 from an accidental drug overdose of prescription medications.
While we may never know the motives or the reasoning behind each drug overdose or accidental death involving teen stars, we can all agree that there are far too many taking place, and that these overdoses and issues have rocked the industry and Los Angeles in a significant way each time a young, budding star dies.