'Glee' actor Cory Monteith's drug overdose death raises question

'Glee' actor Cory Monteith's drug overdose death raises questions about warning signs

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Actor Cory Monteith Actor Cory Monteith
"It has to do with really finding a different way of living," said Interventionist Bill Lee of Cornerstone. "It has to do with really finding a different way of living," said Interventionist Bill Lee of Cornerstone.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

LOUISVILLE (WATE) - Hollywood is still coming to grips with the death of actor Cory Monteith, as autopsy results confirm he died of a heroin and alcohol overdose.

The 31-year-old had been open about his lifelong struggle with substance abuse.

Having just completed rehab back in April, his loved ones say he was doing better than ever in the days leading up to his death.

East Tennessee drug addiction specialists say there are several warning signs that friends and family can look out for when it comes to relapse.

"People look like they're doing well, but on the inside, they're really not. They're hurting," said Interventionist Bill Lee of Cornerstone of Recovery in Louisville.

Lee says relapse is extremely common because addiction never fully goes away.

Like any chronic illness, he says there's no real cure. Even after rehab, addicts must work daily to prevent falling back into the addiction.

"It has to do with really finding a different way of living," said Lee.

Lee says relapse happens most often when the addict starts to think they know best, disregarding post-treatment recommendations.

"The inclination is to think, 'Well, I don't really need to do that' or they minimize it or modify it somehow that really comes back to bite them," said Lee.

He says addicts can be experts at hiding their drug use.

"I'm showing up on time. I'm dressed appropriately. Consequently, I must be doing okay, when in fact there may be this secret," said Lee.

But there are some tell-tale signs for friends and family to look out for.

If they start being secretive, that's a big red flag.

"They get a little more withdrawn. You may not know where they're going or who they're hanging out with or what they're doing," said Lee.

They also might go overboard trying to project how great they're doing.

"The person who has to convince you of that, something's wrong," said Lee.

He says if you suspect anything, immediately go to that person about it.

"Say, 'What's going on? I'm worried about you. This doesn't look normal,'" said Lee.

Talking openly with them about what can feel like a shameful and isolating problem will help get them back on the path to recovery before it's too late.

Lee says another important tool in preventing relapse is joining a support group.

For more information about treatment options and support groups in East Tennessee, contact Cornerstone of Recovery at 855-925-HOPE, or visit their website.

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