‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ star Amanda Peterson died of accidental overdose, Coroner says — (Los Angeles Times)

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Los Angeles Times

Christie D’Zurilla, Contact Reporter

September 3, 2015, 2:00 pm

“Can’t Buy Me Love” actress Amanda Peterson, who was found dead in her Colorado apartment July 5, died from an accidental morphine overdose, according to a coroner’s report.

The 43-year-old hadn’t been prescribed the drug recently but got it from a friend, according to the Greeley Tribune, which obtained the autopsy report from Colorado’s Weld County coroner’s office. The morphine caused respiratory depression, the report said.

“We can’t say she has never been prescribed morphine, but we couldn’t find any recent prescriptions in her medical history, so she wasn’t a [knowledgeable] opiate user,” Coroner Mike Ward said in the report. “The amount of morphine she ingested, coupled with her heart and lung disease, resulted in a fatal event.”

Pathologist Dr. Michael Burson wrote in the report that Peterson “was attempting to self-medicate her pain at the time of death,” People reported.

Drugs to treat depression, anxiety, pain and insomnia were in her blood at therapeutic levels, the magazine said, as well as traces of marijuana. The drug gabapentin, which Peterson had been prescribed for pain from a recent hysterectomy, was present at six times the therapeutic level, the report said.

Peterson, who was best known for her performance in the 1987 romantic comedy costarring future “Grey’s Anatomy” hunk Patrick Dempsey, started acting at age 9 with a big-screen role in “Annie,” but left Hollywood in 1994 and returned to Colorado.

She was arrested five times between 2002 and 2012, with the most recent on suspicion of DUI and possession of narcotic equipment, People reported. Her mother told the magazine in July that her daughter had been clean for a while and said her death “was not, in any way, a drug thing.”

Peterson’s father told TMZ on July 6, when the cause of death was not yet known, that his daughter “had some illness and a sleep apnea problem that may have contributed.”

Back in July, the family hadn’t heard from her for a couple of days and got worried, the website reported. Police found her body during a wellness check at the apartment.

“In my memory, she will always be vibrant and young,” Dempsey said July 7 on Twitter. “Gone too soon. Sending my thoughts and prayers to Amanda’s family.”

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