Chris and Vicky Cornell
Photo: CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images
Vicky Cornell To Congress: "We Must Integrate Addiction Treatment Into Our Health Care System"
Vicky Cornell, the widow of late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, visited Washington D.C. on Feb. 25 to testify before the Congressional Bipartisan Heroin And Opioid Task Force on the opioid crisis. She advocated for better addiction training for health care professionals in the face of the growing epidemic, underscoring that her husband's death "was not inevitable."
"Chris had a brain disease and a doctor who, unfortunately, like many, was not properly trained or educated on addiction," Cornell told the task force, according to People. "We must integrate addiction treatment into our health care system—no more false narratives about the need to hit rock bottom, no more secret societies, no more shame—we must educate health care providers on how to treat addiction and best support recovery."
The rock icon was found dead by suicide in his hotel room in Detroit on May 17, 2017 following a Soundgarden concert. The toxicology report revealed prescription medications in his system, including Ativan, a benzodiazepine he was prescribed as a sleep aid, although the medical examiner said these drugs did not directly "contribute to the cause of death."
Vicky believes that her husband would still be here today if he had been treated by a doctor better educated in addiction, which he had struggled with for years before going sober.
"He didn't want to die. If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn't have done this… Addiction is a disease. That disease can take over you and has full power," she told People in 2017.
Earlier this month, Cornell posthumously won Best Rock Performance for "When Bad Does Good" at the 61st GRAMMY Awards." His children Toni and Christopher accepted the GRAMMY on his behalf in a tear-jerking moment.
"I never thought we would be standing here without my dad," Cornell's son Christopher said during their acceptance speech. "I'm sure he would be proud and honored. He was a rock icon, the Godfather of grunge and a creator of a movement. While he touched the hearts of millions, the most important thing he is known for, for us, is for being the greatest father and our hero."
If you or a loved one is dealing with substance abuse, there are resources that can help—MusiCares offers free addiction recovery services for people in the music industry, including support groups in several states.