Superstar Scott Weiland's Death and Continuing Addiction Struggles Puts Another Face on Huntington's Battle

Updated 3 years ago by David Williams, HNN Freelance Correspondent
Superstar Scott Weiland's Death and Continuing Addiction Struggles Puts Another Face on Huntington's Battle

EDITOR'S NOTE: The author is Scott Weiland's second cousin.  )

Superstar rock singer Scott Weiland, 48,  of  Wildabouts , Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver fame, passed away in his sleep on his tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota.  His death says volumes about the drug epidemic that is plaguing Huntington, WV and sweeping across our country. TMZ reported that Tommy Black, the band's bassist has been booked for drug possession. TMZ reported that a small quantity of cocaine was found on the bus.

Weiland has been plagued with drug addiction since his career began in the early 90's.  Although friends stated the singer had earlier this year proclaimed himself drug free, his addiction has cost him time in prisons and at least twenty rehabs.  Scott lost his only sibling, his younger brother Michael, to a heroin overdose roughly a decade ago. 

In fact, it is fair to say that Weiland has been more famous as a drug addict than as a singer.  His battles with drugs have been notorious.  But Weiland himself has maintained that he has not used drugs in over a decade.  This statement has been largely disputed because of performances in the last year in which he stumbled around and forgot the words to his own songs.  But still, when word got out that Weiland had passed, everyone immediately assumed that it was due to a drug overdose. 

Given Weiland's history, it is most likely the probable cause although there has yet to be any disclosure about drugs found at the scene or reports of him using drugs that evening.  Locally, when an addict or ex-addict passes away at a relatively young age, it is automatically assumed that the cause of death was a drug overdose.  Historically, celebrity deaths have turned out to be from drug overdoses.  We have also seen around 60 overdose deaths in Huntington and most of them involved immediate speculation that drugs were the cause.  So even though, Weiland has sworn he is sober, we have immediately assumed that the cause was drugs, which is the logical assumption that we hear when a younger person who we suspect has done drugs dies.

The internet was blazing with the news of Weiland's passing.  The main reaction was one of sadness but not shocked.  Grunge rock fans were devastated to learn of their hero's passing but were not surprised that it had happened, in fact; many figured that he would have died years ago. 


This is the same reaction that people in Huntington have when they heard a friend or loved one has died from drugs.  They are terribly grief-stricken but they are not shocked.  Many times when a person slips into addiction, those around them accept the fact that the person is going to die from addiction.  The person has usually struggled with their demons for years and the people around them lose faith that they will ever change.  Instead of striving for a long period of time to get that person help, they realize that this person has served themselves a death sentence and will eventually die from the drugs.  Friends and family members give up after a long pattern of lying and deception and just accept to themselves that they have done all they can do and the person will eventually die.

Some people also think that if a person does drugs long enough that they will build a tolerance and not die.  Weiland's contemporaries Layne Staley, of Alice in Chains, and Kurt Cobain, of Nirvana, were brought down by addiction long ago, even though Cobain officially committed suicide.  It was the drugs and lifestyle that led to their destruction. 

Weiland had done heroin since STP's rise in the early 90's.  Many thought he had become like Keith Richards: someone who just was not going to die from drugs; someone who had built a super tolerance.  Many times this happens locally.  Many think because they have done drugs for years that they know what they are doing and that it won't happen to them because they used to do much more.  

With heroin, no one never knows exactly how strong the heroin is they are doing or how what is in the particular shot of heroin.   Many addicts do not realize that their organs are damaged over time due to their constant drug use and eventually a lesser dose will kill them because their tolerance is not higher.

Hopefully, the tragic passing of an idol can send a lesson to other drug users.  Perhaps, some will see themselves in Weiland's place and will try to get help before they die.  Sometimes good can come when a high profile figure dies because others see stars as invincible.  We really do not know if drugs caused Weiland's early demise but many of us have already accepted that he has died from drugs and hopefully, many will get help before the autopsy results are even released.  

We will always have the memory of Scott Weiland and how he made us feel; this is often the feeling we in Huntington have when we lose a loved one due to drugs.  We reluctantly accept their death and we let the good times live on in our hearts and minds of the past before drugs.  But then again, drug addiction is a human condition and this is the only way that we have found to live with the damage drugs do.  RIP, Scott Weiland...may your unfortunate death save others.

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