The Pharmaceutical Industry Murdered Chris Cornell

Soundgarden–Feb 12, 2013 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California

Once again, the media is full of shit. They’ve declared that Chris Cornell’s death was not the result of prescription drugs, despite the fact his autopsy proved he was on prescription drugs. Huh?

Cornell’s autopsy confirmed he was on Lorazepam (Ativan), which is a benzodiazepine, which can cause suicidal ideation, suicidal thinking, and suicide. Benzo’s can also cause confusion, depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself; hyperactivity, agitation, hostility; hallucinations; feeling light-headed, and fainting.

In other words, Chris Cornell’s wife was correct to suspect that his prescription medications caused him to kill himself, as he did not present with any of the common indicators of someone who was suicidal. Instead, Chris Cornell presented the symptoms of extreme side effects directly caused by benzodiazepines (he ingested 4 doses of Ativan at 1mg per dose).

“Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend,” Vicky, Chris Cornell’s wife wrote.

“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him,” she continued. “What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”—Rollingstone

“Many of us who know Chris well noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off. We have learned from this report that several substances were found in his system. After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgment seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind,” Vicky Cornell wrote.

“Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back. We very much appreciate all of the love we have received during this extremely difficult time and are dedicated to helping others in preventing this type of tragedy.” — Rollingstone

Now this leaves me wondering why Chris Cornell, a former addict, was even on one of the most addicting drugs known to humanity?

While benzos are commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, they are also one of the most addicting and dangerous drugs that a doctor can prescribe. They regularly cause normal people without a history of addiction to become addicted to them. Meanwhile, the toxicology report now indicates Chris Cornell was actually on several different drugs including butalbital, lorazepam (Ativan), pseudoephedrine and its metabolite norpseudoephedrine, caffeine, and naloxone.

In my opinion, whoever put Chris Cornell on these drugs in the first place should be sued for malpractice.

His death was entirely avoidable, and preventable.

Here’s the thing with Benzos…

I personally use to take Ativan, in fact I took it every night for several years while I was running my startup because it was pretty much the only way I could sleep at night. I also hate flying, and I’ve had my fair share of antidepressant induced panic attacks. Yes, I literally had to take an anti-anxiety drug to counter act the side effects of antidepressants to treat my digestive issues (I intend to write about this more later, but for now I’m going to keep this article focused on benzos).

When you first start taking Ativan it’s like a freakin miracle, all your problems just melt away, your thoughts fade, you become numb to the World, feel like a stone, and can easily fall asleep. However, the longer you take it the more addicted your brain gets, and the more you have to take for it to be effective. Even if you do increase the dose, it never really works the same as it did that first time, and you have to keep taking it just to keep the edge off. What’s worse is you absolutely can and do get addicted to this drug even if you use it as prescribed, and doctors don’t care.

Even if you take Ativan as prescribed it can turn on you at any time and actually cause anxiety, panic attacks, and ultimately what I like to call a bad drug trip. Benzos are oddly one of the few drugs that can flip at any time, and literally cause the very thing they’re supposed to treat. To make matters worse, doctors have no idea why this ‘flip’ occurs and like to pretend they’re always a safe choice for anxiety issues, when they are not.

I had several bad drug trips while on Ativan, and I know exactly what Chris Cornell was going through. When Ativan turns on you, it is literally a bad drug trip that lasts 2–4 hours of pure drug induced insanity which makes you wish you were dead. I am not exaggerating, and I NEVER abused Ativan, or took more than I was prescribed. I rarely even took a high dose, and literally would cut the smallest .5mg pills they made into microdoses. At the most I’ve ever taken was between 3–4mg, and I’ve met people who regularly take up to 7–10mg. I don’t know what dose Cornell was on, but it doesn’t really matter with benzos, as micro-dosing is just as likely to cause side effects.

When benzo’s turn on you instead of slowing you down your brain goes completely hyperactive and erratic. Distorted dark fucked up intrusive thoughts start swirling around in your head like they are in a rusty cage of a blender, yet physically you’re completely inebriated like you’re drunk off your ass. You can barely get words out of your mouth, and when you do they’re jumbled and slurred (which is what Cornell’s wife stated happened the last time she spoke with Chris). Worse yet this can last for hours on Ativan depending on how much you’ve taken, and your instinct is to actually take more Ativan to make all the bad thoughts the drugs just caused to go away.

To make matters worse, this horribly wrong instinct is exactly what doctors tell you to do, which I did after calling my doctor while on one of these bad Ativan drug trips. It doesn’t work, and absolutely makes the problem worse. If you take more Ativan while you’re having a bad drug trip caused by Ativan one of two things will happen:

  1. Everything you’re experiencing will get worse, your thoughts will become even more erratic and you’ll become completely detached from reality. I am 99.99% confident this exactly what happened to Chris Cornell.
  2. You pass the fuck out and go into what feels like a coma. This happened to me once after about 3mg of Ativan, and I didn’t wake up until 56-hours later. Not cool, but what I wish had happened with Chris Cornell.

Meanwhile, you’re completely detached from logic and reason during one of these Ativan drug trips and your decision making goes right out the window.

These drug trips present with what’s called depersonalization, where you cease feeling like a real person. It is fairly hard to describe, but you kind of feel like you’re looking at yourself from a 3rd person perspective and aren’t actually in your body anymore. It is sort of like playing a video game where you don’t care about what happens next because you can always just respawn, except in real life that isn’t the case. You’re too doped up to even comprehend what is happening to you. Talk about a black hole sun.

Luckily, after I had one too many of these Ativan drug trips and experienced depersonalization I told my doctor to get me the hell off it, as well as everything else they had me on.

Getting off Ativan was one of the most difficult things I’ve personally had to go through, and when the doctors first put me on it I had no idea what I was in for. I was routinely lied to by multiple doctors about the extent of the side effects and length of the withdrawals. It took me nearly four months to wean off Ativan, and I suffered from lingering withdrawal side effects for an additional six months including: insomnia, panic attacks, headaches, GI issues, clenching my jaw in my sleep, TMJ issues, profuse sweating, body tingling, electric shocks, mood swings, and a host of other nasty withdrawal symptoms even though I weaned off super slowly under the care of a doctor. It took years to heal myself from all the damage these drugs caused.

Turns out all I needed was to eat an organic Paleo diet to treat my digestive issues, some bone broths, daily meditation to treat my anxiety, stop working 16-hours per day, do some yoga 2–3 times a week, and go for a daily walk or run. I also now use supplements and herbs instead of drugs, including CBD tinctures which is an extract from cannabis which is a non-addictive potent anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, and anti-anxiety agent. Had Chris Cornell been on CBD instead of Ativan he would still be here today.

Yet Chris Cornell probably wasn’t on CBD because despite having almost no negative side effects (it doesn’t even get you high) it is still federally illegal. So instead he was put on one of the most addicting drugs known to humanity, despite being a former addict, which can cause you to go batshit insane and kill yourself. This is why the media is claiming Ativan had nothing to do with his death, because they don’t want the public to know that these drugs are not safe, and that alternatives like CBD and meditation exist so you’ll keep buying whatever addicting dangerous shit your doctor prescribes.

Unfortunately Chris Cornell wasn’t as lucky as I was to wake up to this truth. I know based on my own experiences with this drug that this is what happened to Chris, and it absolutely breaks my heart.

I grew up on Soundgarden in the 90's, saw Audioslave several times in the 2000’s, went to several solo Chris Cornell shows, and even saw Soundgarden after they reunited. He was by far my favorite signer songwriter, and his death is a tragic unnecessary loss for all of humanity that was completely avoidable.

I know Chris Cornell suffered from anxiety and depression, which is probably why I related to his music. However, he was happily married, had reunited with all of his old former bands, and had three children he adored. This was not a man who intended to kill himself, and had he never been on Ativan he would still be here today.

The drug companies and Cornell’s incompetent doctor drove Chris Cornell to suicide, and that’s the higher truth.

Rest in peace Chris Cornell.




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Trent Lapinski

Trent Lapinski

Growth hacker. Technologist. Yogi. Journalist:

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