Chris Cornell: The Toxicology Report Has Been Released

Two weeks after the death of Chris Cornell–a death ruled as a suicide–the toxicology report has been released. It turns out that there was more than just Ativan in Chris’ system when he died.

The report found that in the time leading up to his death, he had ingested Naloxone, which is also known as  Narcan, the drug that blocks or reverses the effects of opioids. Normally, it’s used in the case of an overdose of heroin or other opioids. The Narcan seems to have been administered by the paramedics who responded to the scene, thinking that they might be responding to an OD. This also explains the four fresh needle wounds found on Chris’ left arm.

His bloodstream also contained Butalbital, which is both a painkiller and a sedative. It’s commonly used with acetaminophen or aspirin. They also found the Ativan (the brand name for Lorazepam), which treats anxiety.

There were also indications of pseudoephedrine, which used to be a pretty standard decongestant until people started using it to cook meth. Finally, they found barbiturates, which acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. They can be used for anything from headaches to anesthesia to capital punishment.

What does this all mean? If you’re a pharmacologist, please weigh in.

None of this changes the verdict of suicide by hanging. The report says that the drugs did not contribute to his death–at least not directly.

Chris killed himself by using a red exercise band around his neck and attached to a clip hanging on the top of the bathroom door. However, it does raise questions about Chris’ state of mind–mental incapacitation?–at the time of his death.

Vicky Cornell had this to say:

Many of us who know Chris well noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off.

We have learned from this report that several substances were found in his system. After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgement seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind.  Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back.

We very much appreciate all of the love we have received during this extremely difficult time and are dedicated to helping others in preventing this type of tragedy.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

5 thoughts on “Chris Cornell: The Toxicology Report Has Been Released

  • June 2, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Mixing downers is a bad idea and can lead to death. If he was already depressed, the drugs could have exacerbated the effects.

  • June 2, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    I haven’t looked at the toxicology report myself, but Butalbital is a barbiturate, so you may be counting that one substance twice?

    • June 2, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      Could be. But it was listed separately from generic barbituates. Weird.


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