Whitney Houston used cocaine immediately prior to her death, and remnants of the drug were found at the scene, according to the final autopsy report issued by the L.A. County Coroner. There’s also evidence listed that suggests the singer could have died as the result of a drug overdose, yet drowning remains the official cause of death.
It’s the coroner’s references to “a spoon with a white crystal-like substance on it” — later determined to be cocaine residue — that quashes rumours that Houston’s Beverly Hills hotel room was somehow swept of drug evidence before the arrival of paramedics and police.
Released yesterday, the report on Whitney’s Feb. 11 death noted the presence of the coke spoon, a rolled up piece of paper and, elsewhere in her room at the Beverly Hilton, “remnants of a white powdery substance and a portable mirror on a base.”
The coroner chief had stated previously that Houston had cocaine in her system when she died, along with marijuana, allergy medicine and Xanax. This final report goes further, suggesting that she possibly “overdosed on a narcotic substance, prescription medications, over the counter medications and alcohol.”
A more detailed look at the report indicates that Whitney’s assistant returned from a shopping trip to find the singer face down in the bathtub, which the coroner says was filled with 93.5 degree (“extremely hot”) water. Her assistant and bodyguard attempted CPR and asked the hotel reception to call 911; Houston’s body had been moved from the bath to the living room floor when paramedics arrived. The report details a “bloody purge coming from her nose.”
The earlier stories about the lack of drug residue or evidence in the room, despite the signs of recent cocaine use in Whitney’s system, sparked speculations about a cover-up — no thanks to certain self-promoting hangers-on in the singer’s midst. In fact, detectives had secured the contents of the room in the immediate investigation.
Less clear is how and why Houston’s death officially stays on the books as a drowning — though, when an addict with heart disease ends up alone and in a tub of water during an overdose, what’s the point in splitting hairs between bad health, bad drugs and bad luck.