To those who know him, actor Samuel L. Jackson’s recovery story echoes his acting style – consistent, focused and relentless.
Samuel L. Jackson, who has achieved status as one of the world’s most successful and prolific actors, continues to work long days and completes around five new movies annually. He is well-known for his capacity to draw in a large crowd and received an Oscar nomination for Pulp Fiction in 1994.
Jackson’s success wasn’t always so straightforward, and he says it contributed to his battle with drugs, including marijuana and crack cocaine. In his early 40s, Jackson’s career had spanned two decades but still hadn’t produced a blockbuster. One of his painful addiction memories includes his wife and young daughter encountering him on the floor, having passed out from cocaine.
In addition to career stress, Jackson’s childhood in a racially segregated area and the abandonment of his father have been noted in reports as possible contributors to his mid-life drug addictions. His father is also noted to have died from alcoholism, having only seen Samuel a few times during his lifetime.
Following the incident, Samuel L. Jackson voluntarily entered rehab, not knowing at the time that his addiction to crack cocaine would be the real-life knowledge he poured into his famous role in Jungle Fever in 1991. Even though he had successfully completed a drug addiction recovery program, his knowledge and portrayal of a crack cocaine addict was so true-to-life that movie producers arranged a time to talk with him to be certain he wasn’t still abusing the drug.
Crack cocaine is cocaine in solid form, and is a mixture of cocaine, water and baking soda. It is consumed by smoking and the effects can occur quickly, including a sense of euphoria followed by hyperactivity or extreme alertness. Once this sensation passes, the user typically feels angry, uncomfortable or agitated. Crack cocaine carries a high risk for addiction and users may have nosebleeds, hoarseness and nasal problems. Because of the way cocaine affects the body, users are at higher risk for life-threatening conditions such as aortic dissection (a tear in the artery), excessively elevated blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Mentally, cocaine users may be more likely to become violent or suicidal.
Soon after his role in Jungle Fever, Jackson’s career began to escalate toward legendary fame – and he still claims he is able to draw upon past emotions and feelings related to the racial segregation he experienced as a youth and an emerging actor. Today, Samuel L. Jackson says in interviews that he is addicted to activities like work and his hobbies, and has remained drug-free.