Mena Suvari bravely opens up about using meth to cope with childhood sexual abuse

Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images

Actress Mena Suvari, best known for her roles in American Beauty and American Horror Story, has bravely spoken out about the childhood sexual abuse she survived, and how she turned to drugs, included meth, to cope with the emotional fallout.

Having penned a new and moving-sounding memoir, The Great Peace, about her life so far, Mena candidly discussed how she was raped as a teenager and subsequently began to abuse drugs. She says she was "introduced" to meth (part of the amphetamine family of stimulant drugs) whilst on holiday and that it "blew her mind", but that she never expected to continue taking it when she returned home to Los Angeles.

"I believed that I would never encounter it again," Mena explained to PEOPLE. "But when I came back to L.A., I ended up meeting a group of friends that one of my girlfriends had been hanging out with, and there it was again."

She then revealed how she was just about "over managing" her addiction when she took the drug again. This time, Mena says, it took her down a very "dark path" and that aged 17, she embarked on a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship. However, her partner - while okay with other drugs - wasn't happy about her meth use. Something that Mena now views as a "gift of at least getting that drug out of my life".

Sadly, this wasn't the end of Mena's drug use entirely, she explains, saying that while being an active part of the rave scene, she tried copious others.

"Because of him and also the environment that I was in, you know, [it] gave me the opportunity to try anything else," she said frankly. "You know, acid, and ecstasy and things like this. And that time with him was so devastatingly dark that I needed those things. But then, you know, my work, that opportunity, that art that saved my life, that was the healthy addiction that I needed to replace it with."

Thankfully, after scoring her first big break on the American Pie movie series in 1999 (she played the character of Heather), Mena's life began to take a more positive turn – although she wasn't quite out of the woods yet.

Her next role, as cheerleader Angela in American Beauty, also helped with keeping her on a better path, but Mena says she still felt she was living a double life, until she was able to seek the therapy that she needed to get a handle on her traumas.

Nowadays, the star is clean and recently welcomed her first child, a baby boy named Christopher, earlier this year.

If you need support or treatment for drug addiction, you're entitled to NHS care in the same way as anyone else who has a health problem. Contact your GP for an appointment, or call FRANK for more information about drugs and substance abuse.

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