Demi Lovato says she started abusing drugs aged 13: ‘I was looking for an escape’

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato has revealed she first started abusing drugs around the age of 13 after being prescribed opiates. 

The singer, who has said she almost died after overdosing in 2018, opened up about her journey with drugs and addiction in Alex Cooper’s Call Her Daddy podcast.

Asked when they first started experimenting with drugs, Lovato recalled the opiates they were given in hospital after getting into a car accident as a young teen.

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,” Lovato said.

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.”

Lovato explained “she drank a lot” during her teens and would get “certain kinds of pills” when she was 15 and 16, including stealing her mom’s Xanax.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato. (Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)

“At 17 was the first time I tried coke and loved it too much,” they said, “and then that led into me getting treatment when I turned 18.”

Turning to her history of drinking, Demi Lovato recalled stealing beer from her stepdad “just to see what it was like to feel drunk”.

Lovato explained that when their management discovered they were taking pills they sought to help them.

But, she said, she was “really good at convincing people” it was not an issue by “making up excuses”.

In 2021 the pop artist returned for another stint in rehab and since leaving has released her album Holy Fvck, reflecting on their journey with rehab, toxic relationships and gender and sexuality. 

In her song “29”, Lovato calls out her ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama who was 29 when he started dating the singer, who is 12 years younger than him.

Meanwhile, the song “Freak” was inspired by Lovato’s coming out journey and decision to update their pronouns from they/them to she/they.
I started seeing in my Instagram comments – people just being really hateful,” Lovato told NPR, “I stopped paying attention to it, but it did affect me and I wrote this song “Freak” about it.”

She continued: “I was like, ‘you already have this conception of me that I’m different and that I’m weird because I’m coming out as non-binary–because I’m speaking my truth. And you know what, this is who I am, and I’m not afraid – I’m going to own this. And I’m taking the power back from what you have to say about this’.”