Famous Heroin Users

River Phoenix

Owned the Viper Room nightclub with Johnny Depp. Died of an overdose after taking a speedball (heroin and cocaine mix).

William Burroughs

William Burroughs' novel, Junkie, details his addiction to the drug and the lifestyle he led in pursuit of it. It is, he says, "the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy"

King George V

Not a user per se, but was euthanized with opiates. In fact, a mixture of opium and cocaine did it for the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.

Thomas De Quincey

Made a career out of his opium habit, wrote the florid Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and had an irrational hatred of the Chinese who populated his dreams.

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker was a virtuoso alto saxophonist who hit New York aged 20. He created the modern jazz sound, veered back and forth between heroin and alcohol addiction, and was dead by the age of 34. The doctor who declared him dead estimated his age to be between 50 and 60 years old.

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