Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky discussed his final performance with Soundgarden in Detroit before his death, and how his prescription drug abuse led to bizarre behavior.
“So his stumbling, inability to hear constant ringing in his ears , inability to sing, making up words, slurring his words was caused by what? I’m sure you can explain it better than NIDA!”
The NIDA is the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Vicky Cornell is a member of the Advisory Board at the Addiction Policy Forum.
Vicky also tweeted, “It does make sense because you are not factoring in withdrawal, an addicts brain chemistry and the combination of 2 CNS Depressants -barbiturates act like alcohol. It’s not 1+1=2 situation. Substance use disorders and the synergistic effects of meds are complex.”
In a recent ABC Good Morning America interview, Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky detailed his drug relapse. During one weeklong period, “he took 20-something pills,” she said. “And in a nine-day period, 33.”
Vicky Cornell recalled the year before her husband’s death, when she said he fell back into addiction after being sober since 2003.
“Approximately a year before he died, he was prescribed a benzodiazepine to help him sleep,” she said. “He had torn his shoulder … the pain in the shoulder was waking him up at night and it was keeping him up.”
The new drugs changed her husband, she said.
“The brain of someone who has a substance use disorder is different from that of … someone who doesn’t,” Vicky Cornell said. “He relapsed.”
“He had really delayed speech,” she recalled of the dark time when her husband’s addiction took over. “He was forgetful.”
Last March, Chris Cornell reached out to a colleague for help, writing in an email, “Would love to talk, had relapse.”
She also recalled a conversation she had with him in 2017 about his prescription drug use.
“I just remembering seeing him and I said, ‘You know, you’re walking like my Grandfather.’ He said to me, ‘Oh you know what, I’ll just stop taking it.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ He didn’t.”
“In retrospect I’ve learned it’s not supposed to be given to anybody who is in recovery, and if you have to give it, they have to be closely monitored, and it shouldn’t be given for more than two to three weeks.”
Cornell died in May 2017, and the death was ruled as a suicide by hanging. Vicky Cornell says that Chris’ prescription drug use is what drove him to his death.