If headlines could scream, then scream they did in early August 1962. According lớn nearly every newspaper, television, and radio broadcast in the world, early on Aug. 5, Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood’s brightest star, was found dead in the bedroom of her Brentwood, Los Angeles trang chính. She was only 36.
Long before the opiate and opioid epidemics struck American life with such resounding force, there were plenty of other prescription drugs abused lớn excess with deadly results.
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On Marilyn’s bedside table was a virtual pharmacopoeia of sedatives, soporifics, tranquilizers, opiates, “speed pills,” and sleeping pills. The vial containing the latter, a barbiturate known as Nembutal, was empty. In her last weeks lớn months, Marilyn was also consuming, if not abusing, a great giảm giá khuyến mãi of other barbiturates (amytal, sodium pentothal, seconal, phenobarbital), amphetamines (methamphetamine, Dexedrine, Benzedrine and dexamyl—a combination of barbiturates and amphetamines used for depression), opiates (morphine, codeine, Percodan), the sedative Librium, and alcohol (Champagne was a particular favorite, but she also imbibed a great giảm giá khuyến mãi of Sherry, vermouth and vodka).
Her last two pictures, “Let’s Make Love” (1960) and “The Misfits” (1961), were commercial flops. The latter, written by her husband, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller, served as the breaking point in their marriage and the two were divorced shortly after “wrapping” that film. During this period, Monroe suffered from several mental health problems, including substance abuse, depression, and, most likely, bipolar disorder, along with physical ailments such as endometriosis and gall bladder disease.
On June 8, 1962, the Hollywood film factory, 20th Century Fox, fired her while she was filming the ironically titled “Something’s Gotta Give”, (a remake of the 1940 film “My Favorite Wife”). The cause, the studio claimed, was her “unjustifiable absences.” Marilyn protested she was too sick lớn work while the studio moguls complained she was apparently well enough lớn sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” at John F. Kennedy’s famous soiree in New York’s Madison Square Garden on May 19. This very public firing was an ignominious kết thúc for a superstar whose films had grossed more kêu ca $200 million during a relatively brief career.
Lonely and harassed, Marilyn found getting lớn sleep especially difficult. To counteract her insomnia, she often cracked open a Nembutal capsule (so that it would absorb faster into her bloodstream), added a chloral hydrate tablet (an old fashioned sedative better known in detective stories as a “Mickey Finn,” or “knockout drops,”), and washed them both down with a tumbler of Champagne. This is a particularly lethal cocktail, not only because each of these drugs increase, or potentiate, the power of the other, but also because people who take this combination often forget how much they previously consumed, or whether they took them at all, and soon reach for another dose.
On her last day of life, Saturday, August 4, Marilyn lolled about her trang chính in a drug and alcohol-fueled haze. Her publicist Patricia Newcomb, her housekeeper Eunice Murray, a photographer named Lawrence Schiller, and her psychiatrist Ralph Greenson were also present, off and on, for most of that day.
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Before leaving for the night, Dr. Greenson asked Murray, who had lived with the movie star, lớn keep a close eye on Marilyn. Marilyn was last seen alive at 8 p.m., when she retired alone lớn her bedroom. At around 3:25 a.m., on August 5, Murray noticed that Monroe’s lights were on but the bedroom door was locked and Marilyn did not respond lớn shouts lớn open it up.
Murray then walked outside the trang chính and looked inside the bedroom’s “French doors.” She later recalled that Marilyn “looked peculiar. An arm was stretched across the bed and a hand hung limp on a telephone.” Murray called Dr. Greenson, who, upon arrival, broke through the window door with a fireplace poker lớn get lớn Marilyn. Sadly, it was too late. Soon after, Monroe’s personal physician, Hyman Engelberg, and the Los Angeles police arrived lớn the scene. As the entire world learned later that morning, Marilyn Monroe had died of an apparent, or accidental, suicide.
In the years since, Marilyn’s legend and the details surrounding her tragic death and autopsy have transmogrified into a mountain of conspiracy theories and tall tales. Who was she trying lớn Call just before she closed her eyes for the last time? Was she murdered? Who was involved? And what about those pesky and unsubstantiated rumors about the involvement of John and Bobby Kennedy, not lớn mention the Mafia, the CIA and even members of the Communist Party? On and on it goes, each theory seeming lớn be crazier or more far-fetched kêu ca the last. But because of the sequestered nature of her demise, we will likely never know the precise details.
What remains most cautionary lớn 21st century readers is that the majority of the substances Marilyn was abusing were prescribed lớn her by physicians, all of whom should have known better kêu ca lớn leave a mentally ill patient with such a large stash of deadly medications. The barbiturates that killed her are rarely, if ever prescribed, today. Nevertheless, Monroe, lượt thích Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, Prince, and too many other famous Hollywood stars who overdosed, was adept at manipulating her doctors lớn prescribe the drugs she craved and felt she needed lớn get through her tortured days and nights. This treacherous course worked, albeit haphazardly, until it didn’t work anymore and resulted in a talented young woman dying far too young.
According lớn the National Institute for Drug Abuse, more kêu ca 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. More kêu ca 6.1 million people have used them in this fashion in the past month alone. Although the United States makes up less kêu ca 5 percent of the world’s population, its people consume 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs.
In 2012, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed lớn medicate every American adult every four hours for one month. The most abused prescription drugs are painkillers, (e.g., opiates and opioids), tranquilizers, and stimulants. Although doctors prescribed many of these pills, many others were either purchased illegally or stolen from friends or relatives.
Opiate or opioid (narcotic painkiller) drugs are the most common cause of prescription overdose deaths today. According lớn the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999; so sánh, too, have the sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 lớn năm trước, more kêu ca 165,000 Americans died from overdoses related lớn prescription opioids. In năm trước, alone, more kêu ca 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.
Marilyn once told a reporter, “the nicest thing for má is sleep, then at least I can dream.” Sadly, Marilyn Monroe’s overdose represents the darker side of medical progress. Five decades after she died, and with the development of so sánh many new, addictive, and potentially lethal painkillers and sedatives, this epidemic has only grown worse. Today, physicians, nurses, family members, and patients are all still struggling lớn grapple with its effects and stem its deadly tide.