The Truth About Paul McCartney's Drug Use

"Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll." That's probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the rock star lifestyle, or at least, when you romanticize it. And perhaps no rock band has been more romanticized than The Beatles.

The Beatles burst onto the scene in the 1960s and soon became international icons who defined a decade, if not much of pop music's sound to this date. They morphed from boy band-esque cuties to full-blown artists with new-age political and religious beliefs — and sounds. But all good things must come to an end, and The Beatles eventually broke up in 1970. The band's undisputed leaders – John Lennon and Paul McCartney – went their separate ways and pursued their own distinctive musical styles. And though the former is no longer with us, the mythos that surrounds The Beatles and its members lives on. Their story still has it all; creative differences, a weird experimental faze, and of course, Yoko Ono.

Did McCartney's life really fit into that rock n' roll blueprint of partying and destructive tendencies? We know he fought with Lennon about Ono and had no shortage of girlfriends, but what about the drugs? Read on to find out about the star's past drug use. 

Music was more important to Paul McCartney than drugs

It's easy to associate The Beatles' music with the groovy, LSD, hippy lifestyle. As for Paul McCartney, though, he never got the same thrill from that stuff that his bandmates perhaps did (although he did claim he once "saw God" after taking DMT, per The Guardian). "I tried heroin just the once," McCartney said in a 2004 interview with Daily Mirror (via TODAY). "Even then, I didn't realize I'd taken it. I was just handed something, smoked it, then found out what it was. It didn't do anything for me, which was lucky because I wouldn't have fancied heading down that road."

McCartney wasn't a heavy drug user, but he was once arrested for possession of marijuana during a 1980 tour at Tokyo's airport, per TODAY. McCartney also admitted to using cocaine in the past but said that it wasn't for him. "I did cocaine for about a year around the time of Sgt. Pepper," he said, per the outlet.

As for psychedelics, McCartney warned fans not to overamplify their impact. "'Lucy in the Sky,' that's pretty obvious [in its inspiration]," he said. "There's others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it's easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on The Beatles' music. Just about everyone was doing drugs in one form or another ... but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).