Chris Cornell and Ativan: a Cautionary Tale?

When Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell took his own life recently, he may have been under the influence of the prescription benzodiazepine Ativan and other illicit drugs.

Cornell’s wife, Vicky, stated later that he was slurring his words, and that he said, “he may have taken an extra Ativan or two”. In addition, Ted Keedick, the tour manager said Cornell was “high” and “out of character from Note One” during that last show.

There are also several sources reporting that Cornell had “obvious” and “fresh” needle marks on his arms – a telltale sign of heroin abuse. Given Cornell’s history of OxyContin addiction, that seems an unfortunate probability.

Cornell’s wife doesn’t believe his suicide by hanging was intentional. Attorney Pasich’s statement reads, “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise.”

Effects of Ativan Abuse

When given short-term –two to four weeks – Ativan is effective and safe. However, there may be serious side effects when abused or prescribed long-term:

  • Persistent cognitive/memory impairment
  • Insomnia
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Blackouts
  • Psychosis/Mania
  • PTSD
  • Impulsiveness/Loss of inhibition
  • Depression

People with major depression have a 20X greater risk of suicide when they take Ativan. Benzo abuse causes both disinhibition and impulsive behavior.

Dr. Asher Simon, with Mount Sinai Hospital, explains, “In someone who is already depressed and suicidal, it can impair their judgment…it can lower their inhibition and make them more likely to act on their impulses.”

Benzodiazepines are dangerously habit-forming, even when taken exactly as prescribed. This means that ANYONE can be at risk for addiction and all its tragic consequences.

If you are struggling with “benzo” dependence and need help, contact Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego TODAY.

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