LOS ANGELES, Calif. (June 19, 2017) – Reports released Monday show actress and beloved recovery advocate Carrie Fisher had cocaine, heroin and MDMA in her system at the time of her death, but it was unknown when she had taken the drugs. Toxicology tests also found morphine, which may have been a byproduct of the heroin. Fisher had long battled drug addiction and mental illness throughout her life and was an outspoken advocate for the 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery. Since Friday, when officials released a report detailing sleep apnea as her cause of death, to today, when the drugs in her system were detailed, public comment has gone on a roller coaster of emotions. It forces us to ponder: What if Fisher died of any other disease besides addiction? Here are a few headlines to spark the imagination: Toxicologists Find Sugar in Diabetic Carrie Fisher’s Bloodstream that May Have Contributed to Her Death Nicotine Found in Cancer-Embattled Carrie Fisher’s Body Upon Death Recently Lit Matches Found at Carrie Fisher’s Fire Scene, Police Believe She Had Been Burning Candles Moments Prior Results Reveal Carrie Fisher Had Not Had a Full 8 Hours Sleep Before Deadly Crash All of these headlines could have been true – but they are still a bit absurd, right? Not much emotion is provoked because there is not a stigma associated with any of those causes of death. And yet, when we read the comments from today, knowing the drugs in her system, the homage paid to our warrior princess goes from a tough as nails, hilarious woman to someone who either “let us down” or is to be pitied. The released report was met with outrage. Comments like, “Why are you releasing this?” and, “Why is this report necessary?” flooded the internet, proof positive that people who battle the disease are frowned upon. The question that SHOULD be asked is, “Why does having cocaine or heroin in her system devalue her in the first place?” Carrie Fisher got up every single day, faced the same demons she did the day before, and she got out of bed anyway and kicked addiction’s ass doing it. So, here are some rules in popular discourse regarding our beloved Princess for the next few days: Don’t pity her, celebrate her. She wasn’t defeated, she won in battle for decades up until her death. Addiction never, does not, and never will define Carrie Fisher. Grace, honesty and bravery do. America has a problem, and that problem is not only the disease of addiction, but how people who suffer from it are viewed. Carrie Fisher, Thank you for your service, and for the countless number of men and women who you led to recovery by bravely telling your story. Your warrior heart never stopped fighting, and you will always, always be our soldier and our princess.
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