What Tom Petty’s Cause of Death Says About Prescription Abuse


Prescription abuse strikes the music world again, this time in the death of legendary singer-songwriter Tom Petty. The former Heartbreakers front man, and musical force behind countless unforgettable hits like “American Girl”, “Won’t Back Down”, “Free Fallin”, “Last Dance with Mary Jane” and so much more, passed away on October 2nd. His cause of death was revealed this past week as the result of an accidental drug overdose from several medications he was reportedly taking for various ailments. These medications included fentanyl, oxycodone, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl, which are opioids; temazepam and alprazolam, which are sedatives; and citalopram, an antidepressant. Petty struggled with heroin addiction for a long time during his prolific and unparalleled career.

What Petty’s Death Taught Us

While it might be our inclination to chalk Petty’s death up to one more chapter in the relationship between addiction and music, there is a more important lesson to be learned about prescription abuse: know your limitations. Petty’s family reported that he’d been a using copious amount of prescription medication to cope with increasing pain. He played 53 dates with a fractured hip; and rather than take the time off to get the necessary medical treatment, he opted to play through the pain and self-medicated. On the day he passed away, he had been told that his hip was completely broken.

One of Many

While Petty lived his life in the public eye, he is just one of thousands of Americans suffering from severe and debilitating pain who use prescriptions to get through their everyday lives and fulfill their obligations. Whether you’re entertaining thousands of fans every night, working a warehouse job to support your family or anything else, it’s important that you seek proper help for chronic or acute pain that goes beyond taking prescriptions. Many unwittingly fall into prescription abuse while taking them for a legitimate medical issue; don’t become a statistic.

Face the Music with Us

Many never seek treatment for addiction because of the cost. Face the Music Foundation is looking to help as many people as possible take the financial worry out of addiction treatment so they don’t have to choose between their savings and their sobriety. We need your help to get it done.