Amy Winehouse Update: Toxicology Reports Reveals No Illegal Drugs
When Amy Winehouse, 27, was found dead in her home on July 23, initial autopsy reports failed to pinpoint a cause, though it was widely speculated that Winehouse — who had a history of drug abuse and alcoholism — died because of drugs. Tuesday, Winehouse's family stated that toxicology tests, which have yet to be released to the public, revealed no traces of illegal substances in her body, though alcohol was detected. "Results indicate that alcohol was present but it cannot be determined as yet if it played a role in her death," the family's statement read. An inquest into the cause of Winehouse’s death will resume in October.
The ruling out of illegal drugs, however, does not necessarily negate speculation that substance abuse was a factor. "The fact that the family said no illicit drugs were found does not mean in and of itself other drugs obtained legally were not found," forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht told ABCNews.com. "Most drug deaths are from legally obtained drugs. That's one caveat I would express in regard to the family's statement."
Also not to be ruled out are the effects of long-term drug and alcohol abuse. Though the singer may not have had drugs in her system at the time of death, the dangers of repeated self-medicating, which Winehouse publicly admitted to, are potentially lethal. Sudden withdrawal from drugs and alcohol, which Winehouse's family earlier suggested may have been a factor, can be a real threat. "Acute abrupt alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous thing," Wecht said. "It's perhaps worse than someone withdrawing from heroin."
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