Natasha Lyonne Revisits Drug Past for ‘OITNB’

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natasha lyonne

Natasha Lyonne is best known these days for her role as Nicky Nichols in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, but her character’s heroin use is something that the actress is all too familiar with.

Lyonne is the only cast member on the show to have openly struggled with drug abuse, and that has somehow managed to be helpful in terms of the storyline.

When the jailbird shows off her post-surgery scar, no makeup was required – it’s the real scar that Lyonne has.
In the upcoming season three, Nichols undergoes heart surgery as a result of her heroin use, which is the same procedure that Lyonne had in 2012 after five years of sobriety. Wen the jailbird shows off her post-surgery scar, no makeup was required – it’s the real scar that Lyonne has.

“By no means was that an enjoyable scene for me,” said Lyonne. “I had to call on memories of painful feelings… my experience was so similar but yet so far removed.”

Natasha Lyonne’s History of Drug Abuse

In the late ’90s, Lyonne rose to fame as a then-child actress with roles in American Pie, But I’m a Cheerleader and Slums of Beverly Hills. But as her stock in Hollywood continued to rise, she fell victim to her own insecurities and turned to drugs. With her depression deepening, personal troubles turned into legal ones.

The actress was arrested for a DUI in 2001, then charged in 2004 with mischief, trespassing and harassment of a neighbor. One year later, tabloids went wild as she was admitted to the intensive care unit of a New York hospital with numerous health issues that included a collapsed lung and Hepatitis C.

After attending court-appointed rehab in 2006, Lyonne slowly began to turn her life around. “I was definitely as good as dead,” she said. “A lot of people don’t come back. That makes me feel wary and self-conscious. I wouldn’t want to feel prideful about it. People really rallied around me and pulled me up by my fucking bootstraps. There was a warrant for my arrest, which helped too.”

When you go as deep into the belly of the beast as I went, there’s a whole other world going on and something like show business becomes the dumbest thing on planet earth…-Natasha Lyonne

Lyonne said she is still committed to her craft, but that coming back from her lowest point has put her acting career into perspective. “When you go as deep into the belly of the beast as I went, there’s a whole other world going on and something like show business becomes the dumbest thing on planet earth,” she said. “I feel so lucky that teenage chapter of feeling lost has been closed.”

Help is Here: If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, we can help you find the right treatment options for your needs. Call 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? and speak to a recovery advisor today.

Image Credits: Orange is the New Black – Netflix

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