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Famous Heroin Addicts

Famous heroin addicts and users may become infamous once they are found to be using. The list of celebrity heroin addicts include actors, musicians, writers and even one of the founding fathers of the United States was a user. Learn more about this hero on heroin.


Robert Downey, Jr.

If you're wondering who the using founding father is then I'll just plain out tell you it was Ben Franklin (pictured below). Although heroin wasn't invented back then Ben Franklin used opium (heroin is a derivate) occasionally. Some of the full-blown celebrity heroin addicts on our list include actors such as John Belushi, Robert Downey, Jr., Bela Lugosi and Tom Sizemore. The late John Belushi was also a famous cocaine addict throughout most of his adult life. Later, Belushi began using heroin and his death is usually attributed to a speedball overdose.

famous heroin addicts
Ben Franklin

Robert Downey, Jr. (pictured at top) is another famous heroin addict on the list who still has a career making movies. Kicked off the set of Ally McBeal for drug abuse and his subsequent stint in rehab made it difficult to find work for a while.

Bela Lugosi played "Dracula" in old movies and was a famous addict of his time for over 10 years. Tom Sizemore is another celebrity heroin addict who has been in and out of rehab for a number of years. Sizemore had a VH1 series for a while called "Shooting Sizemore" and recently has been doing a stint on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew".

Tom Sizemore

Some of the other famous heroin addicts that are actors include comedians Chris Farley and John Candy. Mackenzie Phillips and Mike Starr may also be put into this group as well. TV food critic Anthony Bourdain has talked openly about being addicted to heroin and cocaine when he was in his 20s.

Some of the famous people with heroin addictions who are also musicians include Kurt Cobain (and of course Courtney Love), David Bowie, Miles Davis, Jerry Garcia, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Keith Richards, Richie Sambora, James Taylor, Cory Monteith and even Elvis Presley was have rumored to have dabbled with the drug.

Come As You Are ...

Kurt Cobain made headlines for months after his tragic death from a gunshot wound (heroin was found in his system). David Bowie has stated that he's been only an occasional heroin user as his drug of choice is cocaine. Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday who are jazz and blues musicians and singers are all famous heroin addicts.

Grateful Dead Irony ...

Jerry Garcia of the "Grateful Dead" also died a tragic death from a heart attack brought on by years of heroin use. He also experimented with LSD and was a chain smoker as well and his fans have mourned for years after his demise. Keith Richards probably needs no mention as one can judge from his appearance that he's had a hard road.

Jerry Garcia

Looks can be deceiving though as few would have guessed that James Taylor would also fit into this category. It's well-known that Elvis Presley took both prescribed and illicit drugs and heroin is mentioned in some of the literature as something The King has tried.

Quoth the Raven ...

Two of the celebrity heroin addicts on our list that are also writers include William S. Burroughs and Edgar Allen Poe. Burroughs was a revolutionary writer who founded the "beat" movement. Edgar Allen Poe was around before heroin was invented (like Ben Franklin) and used the precursor opium. It has often been quoted that Poe wrote his famous poem, "The Raven" while under the influence of opium.

Edgar Allen Poe

Here are a few other heroin addicts for the list including Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), River Phoenix, Sid Vicious, Russell Brand, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Cory Monteith.

While these are some of the notable heroin addicts, this list is not all inclusive. There are other celebrity addicts found on the other pages of this site who had a different drug of choice and may have dabbled in heroin or whose heroin use may have gone undetected.

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