The father of Heath Ledger, the Academy Award-winning, Australian actor who died from an accidental drug overdose in 2008 at age 28, says his son is to blame for his own death.
Kim Ledger insists that “It was totally his fault," according to the Daily Mail Australia.
"It was no one else’s," he continued. "He reached for [the pills]. He put them in his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation."
The statement seems uncontroversial, considering Ledger died after swallowing a combination of oxycodone, diazepam, hydrocodone and doxylamine.
“His sister was on the phone to him the night before telling him not to take the prescription medications with the sleeping tablets,” the father notes.
Kim's statement is part of his campaign to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse.
He heads a non-profit organization called ScriptWise, which conducted an online survey in which 20 percent of Australians admitted to being addicted to prescription painkillers at some point in their lives.
“These medications can have a very appropriate case in clinical care and can be very safe and effective, but, like with all medications, some can have potential issues and one is people developing dependency problems and usage beyond what is needed,” notes Dr. Christian Rowan. “We see people who take 40, 50 or 60 codeine tablets a day. It's cause for concern that there is a growing problem for prescription related dependency.”
In the U.S., abuse of opiates -- including street and prescription drugs -- has skyrocketed in recent years. For example, heroin-related deaths have nearly quadrupled in the past 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The problem has led to the formation of a National Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, held annually. President Barack Obama’s appearance on March 29 at this year's Summit highlights the severity of the problem, which The White House calls a “prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic.”