Running Down A Dream Turned Into A Nightmare For Tom Petty


Not long after his Mad Hatter phase, Tom Petty got lost in the world of heroin due to a crushing depression. In the 1990s, the musician was turned on to the opiate to help him cope with life’s many problems.

Tom Petty | Photo Credit Vevo

Any graduate of the fifth grade DARE program knows that dope only provides a temporary fix, but that doesn’t stop people from looking for that comfort. In the end, Petty was no different.

Soon, the needle had its teeth in the musician, despite his attempts to quit.

Tom Petty Kept His Addiction Secret

Tom Petty | Photo Credit CNN

Until his biography, Petty: The Biography, Tom Petty kept his struggles with substances private. But, after the book came out, various sensitive aspects of the man’s life came to the surface for fans to absorb.

He didn’t originally disclose the information because he did not want to set a bad example for those who looked up to him. He knew that his addiction was serious and merciless.

In an effort to keep others from a similar addiction, he kept it a secret.

Becoming Powerless Over A Drug

Tom Petty | Photo Credit Alternative Nation

By 1997, Petty’s life was essentially in shambles. His album, She’s the one, bombed commercially and he fired his drummer, Stan Lynch, despite years of loyalty. Worse still, his 20-year marriage also came to an end.

His traditional coping mechanisms stopped working and he felt like things could not get much worse. This is when his addiction to heroin lost control. Even when he wanted to quit, he had to power over the drug.

In the end, his decision to come clean meant also coming clean with fans. Tom Petty announced his addiction and his band encouraged him to go to rehab since trying to quit cold turkey did nothing.

They also cut Howard Epstein loose since he was an addict that did not want to quit. He died shortly after. When Petty finally told his story to a biographer, he wanted it to be a cautionary tale and not a romantic narrative.

Have you read the powerful biography about the great Tom Petty?