Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell had a mixture of prescription medications in his system when he took his life last month, according to the Wayne County, Michigan, Medical Examiner who performed Cornell’s autopsy. Cornell committed suicide by hanging, though his wife, Vicky, blamed his medication, specifically the anti-anxiety drug Ativan.
Ativan, which is primarily used as an anti-seizure drug, has been linked to psychological side effects such as paranoia and suicidal ideation. It can also impair memory, judgment and coordination.
Chris was a recovering addict and had a prescription for Ativan. Vicky said that he told her the night he killed himself that he may have taken more than the recommended dosage of the drug.
Chris’ toxicology report also listed Naloxone (Narcan), Butalbital and Pseudoephedrine in his system. Naloxone is used to block or reverse the effects of opioid medication, especially in overdose. Butalbital is a sedative that is used to decrease anxiety and cause sleepiness and relaxation. Pseudo ephedrine is a nasal and sinus decongestant and is also available over the counter.
Vicky released a statement reinforcing her belief that the drugs her husband consumed – specifically Ativan – pushed him to take his life. “After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgement seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind. Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back.”