The past year saw talented stars such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Corey Monteith pass away from heroin overdoses, and now, a month-and-a-half after Hoffman’s death at the age of 46, fellow actor Josh Brolin, also 46, reveals his own experience with the deadly drug.

“It was Santa Barbara. It was the 80s. It was punk rock,” the son of actor James Brolin and wildlife activist Jane Cameron shares in a new interview.

“You either had the children of rich, neglectful parents or children of poor, neglectful parents, so it was a mix. But we basically grew up the same way. I’ve never seen a group like that before or since.”

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Brolin with dad James

The Goonies star says he was part of a surf gang in his California town called the Cito Rats who would rob cars in order to buy drugs.

“Yeah, I tried heroin. I mean, I never got into it and I never died from it, which is a good thing,” says the star, who claims to have had 19 friends die from drugs. “Most of those guys I grew up with, they’re all dead now.”

But Brolin didn’t like getting high, which he knows is what saved him. “I used to think you should try to deconstruct everything. Experience everything, but I don’t believe that any more,” he says about his past drug use.

“Having adventures is all very well, but an imagination can make up for all that. That’s the more intelligent way to be. And it keeps you out of harm’s way,” The Labor Day actor continues.

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Brolin in 1988

Though he stopped taking drugs, Brolin found a new demon in alcohol. He was arrested for public intoxication on New Year’s Day 2013 and allegedly entered a rehab facility last November after his divorce from second wife Diane Lane was finalized. The pair had been married nine years.

The former child star says his divorce “was another turning point,” for him.

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Brolin with ex-wife Diane Lane

“It made me think of a lot of things,” reflects Brolin. “My mom dying when I was in my 20s. All the impact that had on me that I hadn’t moved past; I was always such a momma’s boy.”

But the 46-year-old tells The Guardian he soon realized he was on a destructive path last year. “I knew that I had to change and mature. It was like I stepped back and saw the hamster wheel.”

With three new films in the works and a new love interest in assistant Kathryn Boyd, it looks like Brolin is committed to keeping his life on the right track.