The name Lil Peep might not immediately resonate with everybody, but chances are that the current opioid crisis in America probably does. The rapper who became somewhat of a cult figure on the emo music scene died Wednesday night, and his death was probably because he overdosed on drugs — the anti-anxiety prescription medication Xanax, to be exact.
The 21-year-old rapper, whose real name is Gustav Åhr, announced on Instagram that he had popped six Xanax just hours before he was found dead.
“Xans,” as they’re often referred to casually, and other prescription drugs have been nothing short of glorified in pop culture in the last handful of years, especially music. Just this year, rapper Future sang about “Percocets” on the hook off his No. 1 hit song, “Mask Off.”
With the proven influence that popular culture has on younger, impressionable minds, its no wonder that the latest (read: youngest) generation of people on earth have been some of the most rabid recreational consumers of prescription drugs.
Another reason for the rising popularity of Xanax is the fact that they’re super addictive, making most users want more a lot quicker than other drugs used recreationally, one teenager hooked on the drug told Vice earlier this year.
“My tolerance built pretty quickly, and soon it started to take triple what it took at first to get me where you wanted to be,” the 18-year-old Reddit user identified only as”CzerwonyMan” said. “Being sober was the last thing I wanted because I liked the feeling of Xanax so much, so I was pretty much on it 24 hours a day.”
The younger generations have reported being much more stressed out than those who were born before them, according to Addiction Hope, a website that “promotes ending addictive behavior.” Because of that, “many millennials are turning to prescription drugs, including Xanax,” the website said.
While multiple rappers have suffered from similar opioid-induced deaths, the overall opioid crisis lopsidedly affects White people. About 90 percent of opioid overdoses since 2015 have been White people, according to USA Today. Lil Peep is White.
Of course, Xanax doesn’t discriminate and has claimed victims across the spectrum of age, race and gender, as shown by Whitney Houston’s toxicology report that showed the drug was among the prescription pills found in the hotel bathroom where she drowned in 2012.