Known for his roles in such Canadian-filmed series as The CW’s “Nikita” and Global medical drama “Remedy”, Ontario-born actor Dillon Casey is revealing a secret he’s kept hidden for a long time: he was an addicted to opioids, and it nearly cost him his career.
In an in-depth interview with the Toronto Star, Casey, 35, recalls how his addiction led him to be fired from a recurring role on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” when he berated the episode’s director when he asked, “Are you stoned? Your eyes looked glazed.”
“The whole time I am thinking, ‘Why am I saying this? I am so f**ked.’ But I had no control over what I was saying. I was completely destroying myself and I knew it. But I was in denial,” he tells the Star. “I was a 31-year-old man crying and yelling at work. This was bottom and there was no coming back.”
According to Casey, his addiction had an innocuous beginning. “I was in a movie theatre with someone I knew. He popped this giant pill in his mouth. I asked him what it was. He shrugged it off saying it was for pain in his hip. I asked him for one. I took it and the next thing I know I felt my worries melt away. And then the movie was over,” he explained of how he became addicted to the painkiller OxyContin.
“I was completely, wilfully ignorant to what I was doing to myself,” he says. “I made up excuses to see this person over and over so I could get more pills. It was like a choke collar around my neck getting tighter every day.”
Hitting rock bottom ultimately led him to rehab, and he describes the withdrawal symptoms as “hell.”
“It starts with the most powerful shot of adrenalin you can imagine. Then it’s anxiety directed at nothing, then cascades into a deep depression, hot and cold flashes, nausea, stomach pain and exhaustion,” he recalls.
Now that he’s clean, Casey realizes he’s one of the lucky ones to emerge from addiction.
“I’m proud of myself. But I’m angry and shocked at what I was capable of doing. There was no lesson learned that I didn’t learn when I was 5 years old and being told not to use drugs,” he says.
“I’m physically healed but still have some emotional work to do. It’s hard to put the pieces together,” he adds. “What I do know is that I passed through the eye of a needle. And not everyone gets to do that.”