Jason Donovan health: Its an illness – star reflected on his battle with addiction

Jason Donovan says 'it's time to celebrate Neighbours'

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After accepting the titular role in a restaged version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat back in 1991, Donovan achieved his third solo UK No.1, but the year after in 1992, after launching a libel action against The Face magazine which had published allegations that he was homosexual, Donovan began to use cocaine. Having to cope with a public backlash over the court case, which awarded him £200,000 in damages, Donovan was soon enduring “sleepless days and nights snorting [drugs] on his own in his flat”.

By 1994, Donovan had been dropped by his record label and with no work coming in, his party lifestyle seemed to take over.

After multiple nights in a row partying, the star collapsed in a cafe, after which the media started to report on the state of his health.

“The problem was I wasn’t worried about what they were thinking. It’s a very selfish existence. It’s an illness,” Donovan told The Guardian back in 2021.

Writing in his 2007 autobiography, Between The Lines, Donovan opened up about how bad his drug addiction got, explaining that he had hit rock bottom by 1998.

“I’d tried to party with the big boys, tried to be so very rock and roll, but all I had done was make a complete f***ing idiot of myself.

“Who was I trying to fool? There was nothing rock and roll about me,” Donovan wrote in his book.

Writing about one story at Kate Moss’s 21st birthday party, which had been organised by actor Johnny Depp, Donovan recalled having a “cocaine seizure”.

“I knew the symptoms all too well, for it was not the first time this had happened to me,” explained Donovan.

“My heart was racing, my vision was blurring and I was becoming disorientated. I tried to steady myself but my legs buckled under me and I fell to the floor.

“I am not sure what happened next but I do know that someone had pulled the plug on the music and was calling for an ambulance.

“A crowd had circled round me and Michael [Hutchence] was standing over me trying to empty my trouser pockets.”

The star managed to tackle his drug addiction after his wife Angela Malloch fell pregnant with the first of their three children.

Looking back on his battle with drugs, Donovan told The Guardian: “I’m a survivor and I’ve made mistakes. No life is perfect.

“When you’re young, you’re fearless, and then you realise how fragile we actually are. It’s not about necessarily having chart success or the most successful this or that.

“I take comfort in the fact that every career has its ups and downs and, as you get older, you think: how many bedrooms in a house do you actually need? I don’t need to show anything off.”

It is estimated that in 2018, 4,359 people died from drug poisoning in the UK. Of these deaths, 2,917 were from drug misuse, which was an increase of 17 percent from the previous year.

The American Addiction Centre explains that drug abuse can have devastating effects on the mind, body and behaviour.

Drugs such as cocaine, in particular, can have serious long-term effects including:

  • Decrease in bone density
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer.

For those that need help with drug addiction, the NHS recommends talking to your GP who may offer you treatment or refer you to a local drug service.

Treatment will depend on your personal circumstances and what an individual is addicted to. The most common treatments for drug addiction include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Medication
  • Detox
  • Self-help (narcotics anonymous)
  • Rehab.

For more information about residential rehabilitation, or to find a rehab near you, visit Rehab Online – UK’s leading directory of rehabilitation services.

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