Zac Efron, Wise Choice: Cocaine Never Helped These Former Child Stars

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Zac Efron Tatum O'Neal Drew Barrymore

With the reports that he recently completed a stint in rehab for cocaine, Zac Efron’s getting more buzz (oops) than any of his recent movie roles. That’s not to suggest he fell into a dangerous drug habit on purpose, mind you. But we have noticed cocaine has played a role in the lives of quite a few actors who got an early start in Hollywood — and it wasn’t necessarily to their benefit. If the rumors of the High School Musical star (whose upcoming movies include Parkland and Neighbors) trashing hotel rooms and missing shoots are true, we’re pretty glad he got help. Here are some other former teen/child stars whose cocaine use got in the way of us taking their adult careers seriously:

Tatum O’Neal: The Oscar-winning child star of Paper Moon and The Bad News Bears was living and partying hard on her own by age 16. She married recreational drug user John McEnroe in 1986, and only appeared in five movies for the next 15 years, later admitting it was a heroin addiction that kept her down and out. In the early 2000s, she appeared to be having a comeback, with a role on Rescue Me and a stint on Dancing With the Stars, but a 2008 bust for crack and powder cocaine derailed her again.

Drew Barrymore: Drew went from E.T. to Studio 54 before she could drive, and her teenage abuse of alcohol and cocaine seemed to make her a cautionary tale for all child stars. Thankfully, she followed up stints in rehab (precipitated by a suicide attempt) at age 14 with a sober stay at the home of David Crosby. Her fabulous current career seems a testament to the benefits of catching the problem early.

Lindsay Lohan: Do we really need to go over this one? Probably not. But let’s just say that even though Lohan told Oprah her real problem is alcohol, the 2007 arrest that started her public downward spiral was for DUI and cocaine possession.

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Mary-Kate Olsen: The Full House cutie checked into rehab in 2004 to be treated for anorexia, her publicists said, but some suspected this was a cover up for cocaine. Whatever it was, Mary-Kate’s acting career dropped off, and she and Ashley have spent their adult careers focusing on fashion.

Corey Haim: It was on the set of the 1987 flick Lost Boys when a then 15-year-old Corey says he was first introduced to drugs. His addiction to cocaine and other substances soiled his adorable image, and he fell off the radar for decades, emerging for The Two Coreys, a reality show with buddy Corey Feldman that largely dealt with his drug problems. Though his death in 2010 was attributed to pneumonia, he was said to be taking several prescription drugs at the time.

So, yeah, you can call cocaine a party drug. But it’s serious stuff, especially in the very tempting — and very fickle — movie biz. Getting help seems like exactly the right move, Zac.

[Photos: Getty Images]