Drugs may have killed reality TV star
Drugs are believed to have played a role in the sudden death of Californian Micah Downey, who featured prominently in Australian reality TV show Bride and Prejudice last year.
The 26-year-old died on Saturday night, which was confirmed by his ex-fiancee Milly Johnson, who appeared on the show with Downey to salvage their relationship.
The show focuses on couples who are having issues with parents not approving of their other half.
Johnson's mother Catherine strongly disapproved of Downey because of his recreational drug use, which he refused to go to rehab for. This was the reason the couple split during the season finale of the show which aired in November.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal a mixture of illegal and prescription drugs were the reason for Downey's death, according to his drug counsellor Jodi Barber.
Barber's own son died of a heroin overdose many years ago and she has since made it her mission to help affected youth overcome their addictions.
"Micah's parents don't want this to happen to another young life," she wrote in a post on Facebook.
"They understand it was preventable!"
Barber detailed that she had been trying to help Downey since 2014 but he had been struggling with addiction consistently since then.
"When I referred a treatment center (sic), Micah made sure to check it out online. I appreciated that.
"Micah stayed clean as long as he could off and on. The struggle is real and difficult."
Barber said despite his heroin addiction, he was prescribed two different types of benzodiazepines, a strong hypnotic sedative similar to xanax.
"Micah was prescribed two different Benzodiazepines!" she wrote.
"Prescribing benzos to someone using is dangerous, a deadly combination!
"There has to be a better way to cope with anxiety and depression for those addicted to heroin.
"Micah will never be forgotten and deeply missed. Prayers for his family."
Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines - such as Xanax, Librium, Valium and Ativan, drugs commonly used to treat anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, seizures and insomnia - have quadrupled between 2002 and 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
There are several medical studies that have found this class of drugs is gearing up to be the next drug crisis.
Downey and his ex-fiancee have a young son together, Julian, and she is currently pregnant with their second.
Yesterday she broke the news of his death on her Instagram and made an emotional post again this morning.
"I wish things could have been different," she wrote with a broken heart emoji.
"I know deep down you wanted to change."
Yesterday she wrote:
"It is so sad & unbelievably surreal that I am making this post," Johnson wrote, sharing an image of Downey.
"On the 28th of December 2019 Micah Patrick Downey passes away. I am struggling to put into words how sad & heartbreaking this is. I just hope he is at piece (sic) wherever he is & that he will always be watching over his babies. A bad dream. Rest In Peace Micah."
Downey was 25 when he shot the Channel 7 reality show in May. He returned to the US after the couple split on the show.
The series saw five couples trying to convince family members that they should get married.
"The team at Bride & Prejudice is devastated by the news of the loss of Micah Downey," a statement from Channel 7 read.
"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time. At the family's request, we will not be providing any further comment."
Other stars of the show also posted tributes.
"RIP Micah, you had a beautiful heart and a personality to match," wrote Tori Ciseau on Instagram. "You will be so missed by all. I hope where ever you are you are dancing up a storm."