PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A story from Sports Illustrated reveals that former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay had to go to rehab after getting addicted to a prescription medication. The report states Halladay was addicted to anti-anxiety drug lorazepam.
Halladay’s sister, Heather Halladay Basile, told Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein she found out in 2015 that the former pitcher had been abusing the prescription drug.
“In April 2015, Little Roy was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Heather noticed a change in her brother: He seemed sweaty, dry-mouthed, lethargic. She asked Big Roy [Halladay’s father] if he had noticed a problem. He told her the truth: Little Roy was addicted to lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug often marketed under the brand name Ativan. He had been prescribed it, but eventually began abusing it. He had been to rehab, but he had relapsed. It was a ‘really dark period,’ Big Roy says now.”
The Sports Illustrated report says that Halladay eventually told his sister about his addiction.
“Heather did not say anything to Little Roy. She knew how desperately he wanted to impress everyone in his life. But the August before he died, she and her family went to Disney World with him. Little Roy held the bags and waited as everyone else had fun; his back hurt too much for him to sit on any of the rides. Heather noted how careful he was not to mix up his painkillers. At one point he even declined an aspirin for a headache. Finally he confided in her: Addiction was ‘a wicked thing,’ he said. He encouraged her never to accept a prescription for lorazepam. He had been back to rehab. They had given him a journal there. It seemed to be helping.”
Halladay died in November 2017 after his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. An autopsy report showed that Halladay had a blood-alcohol content of .01, with evidence of morphine, amphetamine and a common sleeping pill in his system at the time of his death.
Halladay retired following the 2013 season due to lingering injuries.
Halladay, who began his career with the Toronto Blue Jays before being traded to the Phillies, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.