Medical Examiners Reveal Why They Don’t Believe Drugs Contributed To Chris Cornell’s Suicide


According to Rolling Stone, following the release of Chris Cornell’s toxicology report which included a list of prescription drugs, it is the medical examiner’s opinion that “these drugs did not contribute to the cause of death.”

The drugs found in Cornell’s system were “butalbital, lorazepam, pseudoephedrine and its metabolite norpseudoephedrine, caffeine, and naloxone.” The caffeine came from No-Doz tablets the singer ingested prior to his death, while the pseudoephedrine was employed as a decongestant.

Other prescription drugs included the sedative Butalbital, Narcan (“a narcotic antagonist”) and four doses of Lorazepam, which is known as the anxiety medication Ativan.

The Cornell family has previously blamed the rare side effects of Ativan – which includes suicidal thoughts – for catalyzing the singer’s death. However, the medical examiner noted that while the 200 ng/mL level of Ativan in Cornell’s blood was well higher than the average 30-50 ng/mL dosage, it was also lower than the 300 ng/mL Ativan blood levels of those whose death are tied to the drug.

  • Cat Steppings

    I don’t think the drugs in system can be ignored, even if it isn’t official.

    • Allison Auld

      He was clean. He had an anti-anxiety medication, a headache/migraine medication and a cold/allergy medication. He wasn’t even drunk. If it hadn’t been put out there from the very beginning that it was the Ativan, no-one would have said “oh, it must have been the Ativan”. It’s not like he was full of Oxy or heroin. What can’t be ignored is the mental health crisis and the stigma sufferers face. People don’t want to accept these issues as real. “It must have been the Ativan”, “Courtney Love killed Kurt Cobain” – what about “Depression exists and people sometimes commit suicide” and move the conversation along from there.

  • Corey Ostler

    Yeah, all they are saying is that the Ativan was not at a level that is fatal alone. There is no way to know what effect they had on his psyche.

  • Billy

    i thought knowing that there wasn’t any booze and those track marks were not self inflicted would help in coping with this loss.
    Albeit there is a chance that he had enough meds in him to warp his thoughts, i’m just not sold on that easy answer. I think he got to the point where no matter what he did or what he accomplished or all the good he did for other ppl could take away his pain.

    It’s been 2 weeks and i don’t feel any better inside.

  • dakotablue

    So why was Narcan there (used to counteract an OD) if drugs didn’t contribute to his death?

    • Billy

      maybe they saw pill bottles and thought it might be worth a try to jumpstart him?

    • Karmaniac

      Opioid overdose is assumed when EMS finds an unconscious person. Narcan usually works quickly to reverse that but does no harm if it’s due to another reason. The problem lately with stronger opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil is that it can take several doses of Narcan to get improvement.