Sage Stallone is dead. Prescription drugs kill. Doctors enable addicted patients.

Sage Stallone,Dr. Scott Bonn,Death by Prescription Drugs


Sylvester Stallone’s son, Sage, is dead from a reported prescription drug overdose at the age of 36.  He was found dead in his Los Angeles home on July 13, 2012.  It is not yet known if his death was a suicide or an accidental overdose. Regardless of the coroner’s findings, Sage Stallone is another casualty of prescription drug abuse.

When someone with a high profile name like Stallone dies from a prescription drug overdose it brings renewed attention to this epidemic. Contrary to popular mythology, prescription drugs are more lethal than illegal or street drugs. In fact, prescription drug abuse and addiction kill far more people in the U.S. every year than all illegal drugs combined!  Unfortunately, the problem is getting worse and, frequently, medical doctors enable their drug addicted patients by frivolously filling prescriptions.

Late last year, the murder trial of Dr. Conrad Murray brought global attention to the connected problems of prescription drug abuse and medical negligence.  Dr. Murray was found guilty of negligent manslaughter in the wrongful death of pop music icon Michael Jackson. I believe that Conrad Murray, who was paid $150,000 per month by Michael Jackson to be his only patient, allowed greed to compromise his medical training and ethics.  Stated differently, Dr. Murray was a highly paid, live-in drug dealer for Jackson.

However, to what extent is a prescription drug addict who overdoes, even accidently, responsible for his own death?   Murray was a negligent and selfish doctor who should have known better than to prescribe lethal anesthesia as a sleep aid, but Michael Jackson was also a manipulative and desperate drug addict who begged him for the drug. Wasn’t Jackson ultimately responsible for what he put into his own body?  Similarly, despite the tragic outcome, wasn’t Sage Stallone responsible for what he put into his own body?

Sometimes, pathological and codependent relationships between doctors and their patients can have unintended and tragic results.  Prescription drug addiction and medical negligence in combination create a “perfect storm” of crime, personal disaster, and death in the U.S.  As a society, we must address these growing and interconnected social problems before more lives are destroyed.

Scott Bonn, PhD, is a professor of criminology at Drew University in Madison, NJ.  He is currently writing a book on the public’s fascination with serial killers and he is the author of the critically acclaimed book, “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq.”  He can be reached @DocBonn on Twitter.

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Posted on July 18, 2012, in Addiction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. People die by the thousands using prescription drugs exactly as prescribed. Not even abusing them, just trusting naively in their doctors, who are always “so wonderful” in their minds. Doctors ain’t what they used to be in the days of Dr. Kildare and Medical Center.

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