The Drugs That Killed Heath Ledger

Hey, everyone remember how Heath Ledger did all that cocaine and heroin at Hollywood "Drug Parties"? And how it killed him? Turns out, he was killed by legal drugs—perhaps ones given to him by doctors! The establishment killed him! Not, shockingly, all that deadly Mary Jane. No, the pills that did Ledger in are a bit more respectable, and all quite familiar to your standard self-diagnosing doctor-shopping members of the creative under- and over-classes.

As we've helpfully pointed out, it's remarkably easy to accidentally kill yourself with popular prescriptions. In Ledger's case, it was painkiller OxyContin, anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Xanax, a couple sleep aids, and Vicodin. You probably know people with most of that cocktail in their medicine cabinets (or purses) right now.

Isn't this a handy riposte to your average thinking person's argument for the decriminalization of "street drugs"? Taxation, regulation, and government oversight is supposed to make everything safer—but when you add in a large degree of disposable income, a depressive personality, and the lobbying power of the pharmaceutical industry, death's just as likely to be found at Duane Reade as on some theoretical dark streetcorner.

So... is Tom Cruise right? Would Scientologist Heath Ledger still be with us, healthy and drug-free? Discuss. Or just call us craven exploitative gossip-mongering leeches.