Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Death Watch: Heath Ledger was like a pharmacy

In 1989 Warren Zevon released a song, featuring Pink Floyd's David Gilmour on guitar, called Run Straight Down.

Zevon liked to write lyrics about the big issues, and in the eighties the environmental crisis du jour was acid rain and polluted rivers.

Zevon effectively makes his case for cleaner water by chanting, on a backing track that persists throughout most of the song, a list of all the harmful chemical compounds that can be found in polluted rivers and acid rain. It goes:

Aminobiphenyl hexachlorobenzene dimethyl sulfate chloromethyl methylether 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin carbon disulfide

I was reminded of this chant when I read the Heath Ledger toxicology report, which stated the actor's cause of death was an accidental overdose of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine. (Which are the generic names for the commercially sold drugs OxyContin, Vicodin, Valium, Xanx, Restoril, and Unisom.)

OK, so the whole acid rain thing might have been a bit overblown, but unless you have a death wish (which Ledger might well have had) why would anyone put a collection of chemicals that sound like scary river pollutants into their body on a regular basis.

Although I'm not a big fan of the effectiveness of anti-drug ads, maybe one that showed Ledger's body being taken away as oxycodone-hydrocodone-diazepam-temazepam-alprazolam-doxylamine was chanted in the background would make people think twice about staking up on meds.

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