Stevie Nicks’ Misguided Headache Cure Burned a Hole in Her Nose

In the 1980s, a doctor offered Stevie Nicks a grim ultimatum: stop using cocaine, or you’ll die. The Fleetwood Mac vocalist had a large hole in her nasal cartilage, and continued use of the drug could cause a brain hemorrhage. Though cocaine likely didn’t help with the spot, it was not the cause. Here’s how a misguided headache cure eventually left her with the permanent hole.

Stevie Nicks wears a black shirt and holds a microphone.
Stevie Nicks | Michael Putland/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks frequently used cocaine in the 1970s and 1980s

After joining Fleetwood Mac in 1975, Nicks and her bandmates began using cocaine. While it was recreational at first, their usage ramped up significantly. Nicks says that while they feared drugs like heroin, they didn’t have a problem with cocaine at first.

“I wish people had told us the same thing about cocaine,” she told The Telegraph. “But in our day everybody was going, ‘It’s not addictive, it’s just recreational fun, blah blah blah.’”

Eventually, Nicks’ usage of the drug moved past recreational. 

“I used to carry a gram of cocaine in my boot at all times,” she said for Oprah’s Master Class. “And it was the first thing I thought of when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I thought of before I went to bed.”

Nicks says that everyone around her used cocaine, but she believes that it was the biggest problem for her.

Stevie Nicks has a hole in her nasal cartilage, but not from cocaine

Following ten years of usage, Nicks received upsetting news from a plastic surgeon. She had been suffering from worrisome blackouts and soon learned that she had a hole high in her nasal cartilage. The doctor said that using cocaine even one more time could kill her. He also revealed that the gap was not a result of the drug.

Nicks used to dissolve aspirin in water and squirt the solution into her nose to ward off headaches. The problem is, aspirin is an acid. While trying to cure her headaches, she was inadvertently dissolving her cartilage.

“I thought I was being the best, most hygienic nurse ever,” she told Rolling Stone.

Regardless of where the hole came from, its presence made Nicks realize that it was dangerous for her to snort cocaine. She soon checked herself into rehab and has stayed away from the drug since.

These days, the Fleetwood Mac artist doesn’t use drugs or alcohol 

After Nicks stopped using cocaine, she dealt with an addiction to her Klonopin prescription, something that she says is her biggest regret. Since then, she says she has stayed away from drugs and alcohol altogether. 

“I don’t drink. I quit smoking cigarettes. I don’t do any recreational drugs,” she told Vulture. “And I’m really pretty happy. Sometimes I’m up onstage and I’m going, ‘I can’t really believe you are actually up here, sober as a judge, having a great time.’”

 How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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