Elvis Presley was the King of Rock-N-Roll. He was hugely influential and popular during his lifetime and even through to today. He produced 94 gold singles and 43 gold albums. In 1956 alone, he made over fifty million dollars. Today, Elvis Presley Enterprises (an evil company that has been extremely harsh with fan websites) brings in over one hundred million dollars each year.
People do not think of Elvis as being a junkie, and in the classic sense he wasn't. There is no indication that he ever did heroin, for example. But he used a lot of other opioids. In 1973 he almost died of Dilaudid overdose. All of his opioids came from "respectable" sources (doctors) and it has been stated that Elvis did not see himself as a "druggie" and that he saw the drugs that he was doing as medicine. This may be true; people are capable of convincing themselves of all kinds of strange things. But the fact remains that Elvis was being supplied by over 100 doctors--surely an indication that he knew what he was doing would not be tolerated by mainstream society.
At various times, his doctors tried to reduce his intake of drugs. He was even put on methadone for a period of time. But Elvis did not seem inclined to quit his drug using. These drugs were probably the little happiness that he found in life at that time.
Early on in his life Elvis was more drawn to uppers. These took the form of speed tablets in the 1950s and 1960s, but he moved onto cocaine in the 1970s. In the last few years of his life, he was doing more downers. At death, his body had a toxic level of Quaalude and ten times the normal therapeutic level of codeine.
Elvis' drug use has been implicated in his death. In the final analysis, however, although his drug use did not improve his state of health, he died from a heart attack that was probably genetically determined.