Carrie Fisher Had Cocaine, Opioids and Other Drugs in System upon Death

A report by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner released June 19 showed that actress Carrie Fisher had a mixture of drugs in her body when she experienced cardiac arrest on an airline flight from London to LA on Dec. 23, 2016. She died four days later. She was 60. “There’s certainly no news that Carrie did drugs,” Fisher’s brother, Todd, told the Associated Press. “I am not shocked that part of her health was affected by drugs.” The toxicology test identified cocaine, ethanol, ecstasy, methadone and other opioids in her blood and tissue. The report revealed that Fisher may have used cocaine within 72 hours of her collapsing on the airliner. Traces of heroin were also found in her body, but the dose and time of exposure couldn’t be determined. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner could not identify the role these substances played in her death. A statement released by the coroner’s office on June 16 stated that sleep apnea and other unknown factors contributed to Fisher’s death. The statement also said she’d experienced other complications, including drug use and atherosclerotic heart disease, at her time of death. Fisher gained fame for her role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” series. However, she dealt with alcoholism, drug addiction and bipolar disorder during her life. She told The Daily Beast in 2015 that she also struggled with body dysmorphia issues.

Carrie Fisher Suffered Drug Overdose in 1985

Fisher’s drug use dates back to her adolescence. At 13, she began smoking marijuana. She used drugs more heavily in her early 20s to manage her emotions. Fisher used cocaine on the set of “The Empire Strikes Back,” the second installment of the “Star Wars” saga. While shooting the series’ third film, “Return of the Jedi,” she was using sleeping pills. “I couldn’t stop, or stay stopped,” Fisher told People magazine in 1987. “It was never my fantasy to have a drug problem.” She experienced a drug overdose in 1985 after three consecutive months of drug use. Afterward, she entered rehab. In 1987, Fisher released “Postcards From the Edge,” a memoir about an actress recovering from drug overdose. Three years later, the story became a feature film.

Carrie Fisher’s Mental Health Advocacy

Fisher did not shy away from her battles with addiction and mental illness. In fact, she dedicated much of her adulthood to mental health awareness. To raise this awareness, Fisher gave speeches around the country. She also talked about her past drug abuse and mental illness in “Wishful Drinking,” an autobiographical humor book based on Fisher’s one-woman stage show. “My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life,” Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, told People magazine in a statement. “She ultimately died of it.” Lourd said that Fisher would want her death to be used to help people talk about their own mental health problems and eliminate stigma.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

View Sources

Go To:
We're here to help you or your loved one.
Question mark symbol icon

Who am I calling?

Calls will be answered by a qualified admissions representative with Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS), the owners of We look forward to helping you!

Question mark symbol icon

Who am I calling?

Phone calls to treatment center listings not associated with ARS will go directly to those centers. and ARS are not responsible for those calls.