Demi Lovato Recalls Using Opiates at 13 After Getting Into Car Accident

Demi Lovato is sharing her story, talking about her life, career and sobriety journey.

By Elyse Dupre Aug 24, 2022 5:00 PMTags
Watch: Demi Lovato Says She Was Prescribed Opiates at Age 13

Demi Lovato is standing tall like a skyscraper. 

The former Disney Channel star has never shied away from talking about the toll of teen stardom and her past drug and alcohol usage. But with her new album HOLY FVCK, Demi is sharing her journey more honestly than ever. The "Confident" singer recently reflected on her teen years, discussing how she partied to cope with her workload, which included fronting a Disney show as well as films and a music career.

"If you're going to work me like an adult, I'm going to party like an adult," Demi shared on the Aug. 24 episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast. "And that at 16, 17 wasn't healthy at all." 

But as Demi noted, she'd already started experimenting with drugs and alcohol by the time the partying started, saying she first started taking prescription opiates at age 13 after a car accident.

"My mom didn't think that she'd have to lock up the opiates from her 13-year-old daughter, but I was already drinking at that point," she continued. "I had been bullied, was looking for an escape. And when my mom saw how many of the pills had disappeared and how fast they did, she took them away and locked them up."

Demi Lovato Through the Years

Elaborating on her teenage drug use, Demi shared that in addition to drinking heavily she stole her mom's Xanax around age 15 or 16 before turning to other substances. "Then at 17 is when it kind of was the first time, like, I tried coke and, like, loved it too much," she added. "And then that kind of bled into me going to treatment, like, right after I turned 18."

But when her team first tried to address her drug usage, Demi shared she was "good at convincing people" she was OK.

"Finally, when it got to a point where it was clear that I needed help, and I needed to go away," she said, "everyone was really supportive of it because it had been a long time coming." 

RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

However, Demi suggested she wasn't always surrounded by a good support system, sharing that "a person who came into the picture" assumed control of her life—from her business decisions to what food she could eat.

"For someone in recovery from an eating disorder, that's so dangerous," she said. "It actually exasperated my eating disorder to the point where I became bulimic again. From 2016 to 2018, I was dealing with that." 

Demi further recalled a 2017 incident when she was throwing up blood and said she needed to seek treatment. However, she said the person, who she did not name, told her "'You're not sick enough.'" So, she didn't go.  

"Less than a year later I ended up overdosing," Demi continued, looking back at her near-fatal overdose in 2018. "I felt trapped. I felt like I couldn't get out of this situation. And my way of blowing everything up was relapsing on drugs and alcohol. 'Cause they always said, 'If you use, we're out.' And I was like, 'All right, time to get out. Bye.'"

But Demi, who said on the podcast she returned to treatment in 2021 and is now sober, says she's learned so much from her experience.

 "I was under the control from 18 to 25 and those are years where you're trying to figure out your adulthood," she said. "You're no longer a teenager, but for some reason I had people controlling everything I ate. My business decisions were always being made for me. And now I found my voice, no one can ever do that to me again. And I feel empowered by what I went through because I had to grow and I had to learn to accept that I'm my own boss."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237.