In the days and weeks that followed his death, details emerged that painted a grim picture of the life that seemed so charmed. An autopsy showed that the Dark Knight actor died from “acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.”
Now, after so many years, Ledger’s father, Kim, is speaking out and he blames his son for his own death. In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Kim said: “It was totally his fault. It was no one else’s. He reached for [the pills]. He put them in his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation. That’s hard to accept because I loved him so much and was so proud of him.”
The grieving father added that just the night before Ledger’s death, his sister, Kate, was warning him about the dangers of mixing prescription medication with sleeping pills. He reassured her that he was fine and knew what he was doing.
“Heath mixed a couple of drugs together with sleeping tablets and he’s gone forever,” Kim said. “That’s something we [himself, wife Sally and Kate] just have to deal with.”
To help others avoid a similar fate, Kim now works to raise awareness about the risks associated with medication misuse. That, of course, is admirable but does it really address the whole issue?
While it is important to hold people accountable for their own actions, someone was writing those prescriptions for Ledger. We have an issue today with healthcare providers overprescribing drugs, particulate opioids. Shouldn’t we also be including them in this discussion?
The Centers for Disease Control has issued amended its guidelines for prescribing certain types of medication as an “urgent response to the epidemic of overdose deaths.” Earlier this year, President Obama announced new initiatives that are being put in place to help fight this growing problem. Clearly, this is not just the fault of a single individual.
If anything, let’s hope that Heath Ledger’s death can serve as a reminder of how we might think that we have things under control, especially if we obtain our medication from healthcare providers, but that things can take a turn for the worse very quickly.
If you, or anyone you know, may have developed a dependency on prescription medication, seek professional help, visit the DrugFree.org website for guidance, and/or call 1-855-DRUGFREE.