March 23rd, 2012 15:22 EST
Whitney's Toxicology Results Paint a Tragic Picture
The toxicology results make clear that Ms. Houston was not on the road to recovery, as some have claimed, but tragically still ensnared in active addiction. They also underscore a little known fact among the lay public that sudden cardiac death from cocaine can and does happen, even in relatively young and seemingly healthy people who have no previously diagnosed history of cardiovascular disease.
The test results provide no information whatsoever about how much cocaine she was using or how frequently she was using it. Xanax (alprazolam), another substance reported in the toxicology results, is often taken to "come down" from cocaine (i.e., to reduce the unpleasant jitteryness and restlessness induced by stimulant drugs) suggesting the possibility that she had used a large enough quantity of cocaine to cause these effects in the first place. This is also consistent with her use of alcohol, often taken together with cocaine for its calming sedative effects as well as benadryl which also has sedative side effects.
The combination of Xanax, alcohol, and benadryl would be sufficient to put most people into a deep sleep. All in all, this leaves a tragic picture of someone with a serious history of chronically relapsing addiction who was abusing multiple substances in dangerous combinations that eventually contributed to her death.
The real tragedy is that she did not get help sooner and that perhaps those around her were either or unable to intervene more strongly-- an all too common scenario for the rich and famous and others of influence who fall prey to addiction.
DR. ARNOLD M. WASHTON
The Institute for Executive Recovery, Palm beach FL
Private Practice of Addiction Psychology
New York, NY