How Does Fame Influence Drug Abuse?

How Does Fame Influence Drug Abuse?

The relationship between fame and drug abuse is complicated and multi-faceted. In many cases the impression that famous people use drugs may be caused by media coverage. Entertainment news shows and tabloids are unlikely to treat their viewers to stories about addicted mothers, teachers, doctors, or factory workers. But there are both causal and circumstantial connections between celebrities and addiction that are worth considering.

Personality Types

One reason celebrities may seem to be drawn toward drug abuse and the party lifestyle is that certain people are born with a psychological predisposition toward thrill-seeking, risk-taking, and attention craving.

It may be that the same personality traits that cause a person to become a performer or athlete are the ones that cause them to seek the thrill of getting high. Celebrities, especially musicians, actors, and other artists, are also prone to bouts of depression which can be quickly and temporarily relived by getting high.


Celebrities often do not face the same consequences for drug abuse or addiction as members of the general public. In fact, scandals related to substance abuse often boost a celebrity’s fame and marketability. Especially in scenes like rock music, where cultural rebellion is a selling point, these celebrities are actually rewarded for their bad behavior.

While most non-famous people face severe consequences if caught abusing or distributing illegal substances, many celebrities pay easy fines, do time in rehab, and then enjoy increased celebrity. As a result of the special treatment they receive, many famous people feel a certain entitlement. One of the most critical elements of lasting recovery is humility and personal responsibility; two things that are often lacking in the mind of the addicted celebrity.


Famous people also frequently have easy access to substances most people do not. Disposable cash and extensive networks of friends and fans eager to provide them drugs are a deadly combination. Even when celebrity addicts make a concerted effort to get clean, they are often surrounded by people who encourage them to relapse and provide easy access to drugs. Many of these musicians, actors, and athletes also have easy access to large amounts of money at any given time.


Under the surface of the entitled, reckless, attention-seeking celebrity is often a desperately insecure and fearful person. Many famous people who have struggled with substance abuse have said that their craving for fame and recognition was directly connected to an underlying feeling of inadequacy or loneliness.

Some are seeking to replace the love they did not receive from parents during critical times of emotional development. As they are for any addict, drugs and alcohol provide a sort of short-term medication against these feelings of emotional angst.