On September 7, 2018, rapper Mac Miller died at his Los Angeles home of an apparent accidental drug overdose. He was twenty-six years old.
He was open about his struggles with drug addiction and his mental health. He admitted that he used a substance called lean but stopped using it in 2012. Also known as purple drank, sizzurp, and other names, lean is a substance that consists of cough medicine often combined with another drug, such as the opioid/opiate drug codeine, a soft drink, and pieces of hard candy.
Miller also received two citations for a DUI (driving under the influence) after allegedly driving drunk and hitting an electrical pole with his car in May, 2018.
He also discussed feelings of sadness, indicating that he may have lived with depression. Many people struggle with both drug addiction and a mental health illness such as depression at the same time, a condition that many professionals call a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder.
If Miller did in fact have a dual diagnosis, he was not alone. About 7.9 million people dealt with both drug addiction and a mental illness in 2014, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
If Miller died from a drug overdose, he was also part of another large group. Drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 U.S. residents in 2017. This means that overdoses killed about 197 people every day, all 365 days of the year.
Abusing alcohol also produces deadly results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that alcohol kills about 88,000 people every year in just the United States alone.
So, alcohol and drug abuse kills around 160,000 Americans every year, while millions more struggle with such substance abuse. These statistics indicate that addiction is not unusual.
Drug and alcohol misuse doesn’t discriminate. Mac Miller had talent, fame, and fortune, but it appeared that he shared the same problems that many others face.
If Miller’s death was an overdose, it could have been prevented. It is notoriously difficult to treat substance abuse, but professionals are always searching for new ways to treat the mental and physical aspects of the condition. Many people have benefited from such work and many people can benefit from it.