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John Belushi

John Belushi was a brilliant comic lost before his time, due to the influence of his drug addiction. He could have been so much more than a "dead junkie", as police described him when they found his body in 1982. But drugs were something that Belushi could never quit.

John Belushi

He was a key player in the movie industry, but he was also pressured by that position. He used drugs, in part, to find inspiration and energy, to deliver all the humor that people expected from him.

Old friends of Belushi argue that he really wasn't an addict, but almost anyone on the outside looking in was able to see what drugs did to him. He was the classic addicted man, not only to drugs, but to alcohol as well.

Belushi tried to quit drugs on many occasions, but he tried to do it through only willpower and resolutions. When he lost the will to keep trying, he lost the game. He lost his life. He attempted to quit drugs by changing the environment he lived in, but he couldn't leave the drugs fully behind.

Lesser Evils ...

He even used trainers whose job it was to guard him, and tried switching to the "lesser evils" of beer and pot. But they led him back to his drugs of choice, cocaine and heroin. Belushi died on March 5, 1982 from a fatal injection of these two drugs in what is known as a "speedball".

Belushi's widow, Judy, remembers making him health shakes in the mornings, when he would go on a health kick. But when you abuse drugs, your body can't properly utilize healthy nutrition. He saw doctors, some of whom made the situation worse by prescribing tranquilizers for him. He also saw psychiatrists, who tried to explore his childhood to get a handle on his adulthood.

Belushi really did try to quit, just not in an effective way. People who have come back from where he was and lived to tell about it say that to quit, at his level, means abstaining completely from all substances that alter mood, then admitting defeat and accepting help. It's also vitally important to seek support, often from a group like AA.

Deadlines ...

Stopping drug use by doing only that - stopping - left the odds stacked against Belushi. He was rarely off one or another drug for much more than a couple days. He tried using Quaaludes or Valium to substitute for his real drugs of choice, and he got clean occasionally, for a movie or a deadline.

There were times when Belushi looked like he really had quit drugs, when he brought one of his drug guards with him to movie sets. He called them "trainers".

But his career was falling apart. The box office failures led to more alcohol and drug abuse, which alarmed his family.

Belushi's widow stands by certain "facts" that lead one to believe that it was his career and hectic filming schedules that led to drug abuse, rather than drug abuse that led to the days lost when he was supposed to be filming.

For someone who is addicted, there will always be times when they can't get through without alcohol or drugs. But those situations are brought on by alcohol and drugs. Life for everyone involves pressure, and it's much easier to handle it without resorting to drugs.

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