It happens every time a celebrity addict dies: The Fame Fatale‘s email inbox swells with pitches from local rehab facilities, all eager to be showcased in my next piece about this tragic, tragic development.
These bits of hustle always arrive immediately, days before a coroner has even determined a star’s cause of death. That lack of information doesn’t discourage the rehab facilities — many of whom have treated stars such as Lindsay Lohan — from angling for coverage any way they can get it. In fact, they’re only too happy to fuel speculation about what may have been ingested by a dead star, whether the guesswork turns out to be true or not.
The death of Canadian actor Cory Monteith was no exception; in his case, rehab facilities began reaching out to me less than 24 hours after his death was announced. Some counselors even sent over some handy suggested quotes for my convenience.
“I don’t know if Cory Monteith died from drug addiction or alcoholism,” read one suggested sound bite from a counselor. But, the good doctor was eager to point out, Monteith had been in rehab before, for about a month.
“Maybe the message should finally be not that rehab doesn’t work,” the suggested quote continued, “but that rehab doesn’t work unless you finish treatment… And 30 days isn’t finishing treatment for roughly 85 percent of addicts.”
In the same pitch, another doctor from the same facility added, “Although the exact cause of death is still unknown, medically it appears from all circumstances that this was a drug related death.”
Some Monteith-related pitches went even further. One publicist for a noted addiction specialist went so far as to suggest the precise drug that killed Monteith.
“While not confirmed, it sounds like the prescription drug fentanyl is sweeping the Vancouver area,” the publicist wrote to me. “While we can’t confirm if this was the cause of Cory’s demise, if looking to further explore the drug and Cory’s death, [Name Redacted] can be of assistance.”
Fentanyl is a pain medication. For the record, it was not the cause of Monteith’s death. A mix of heroin and alcohol was.