What do Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse have in common? Besides being some of the most popular musicians of their time, all of them struggled with drug and/or alcohol addiction – and as a result, all of them died at the young age of 27. They are the five most famous members of the 27 Club, an exclusive “club” made up of musicians whose lives were cut short at the same age.
By some counts, the club has around 50 members – but is it statistically significant? Some think so, even though a study completed by the British Medical Journal in 2011 found that there was no remarkable increase in death rate for 27-year-old musicians. Regardless, when you rank different professions by average lifespan, entertainment falls at a surprisingly low average of just over 77 years.
Whether you believe in the curse of the 27 Club or not, the fact remains that all of these young musicians were substance abusers, and their addictions played a strong role in their deaths. These musicians give a snapshot of the evolving drug issues in the United States, from Hendrix’s death in 1970, to Winehouse’s death in 2011. Between 1990 and 2008, the death rate due to overdose increased threefold. Since 1999, prescription drug overdose specifically has increase 250%.
These musicians fell victim to their addictions, but it doesn’t have to end that way. With the proper treatment, recovery is possible.
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