In 1993, Frusciante briefly performed with the band P, alongside Depp, the Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes, the actor Sal Jenco, and the songwriter Bill Carter. The band often played gigs at the Viper Room, including a performance with Flea on October 30, 1993. According to Gibby Haynes, the band was performing their song "Michael Stipe" when outside the venue River Phoenix was having seizures on the sidewalk. Phoenix died in the early hours of October 31 of heart failure, brought on by an overdose of cocaine and heroin at the age of 23. In his book Running with Monsters Bob Forrest wrote that River Phoenix and Frusciante spent the days preceding Phoenix's death together on a drug binge, consuming cocaine and heroin without sleeping for days.
A 1996 article in the New Times LA described Frusciante as "a skeleton covered in thin skin" who weighed little more than forty kilograms (eighty-eight pounds) at the nadir of his addictions and nearly died from a blood infection. His arms were fiercely scarred from self-harming as well as improperly shooting heroin and cocaine, leaving permanent abscesses. Frusciante released his second solo album, Smile from the Streets You Hold, in 1997. The album's first track, "Enter a Uh", is characterized by cryptic lyrics and hysterical screeches. Frusciante also coughs throughout the track, showcasing his deteriorating health. The album features Phoenix on "Height Down". Frusciante said he released the album to get "drug money" and withdrew it from the market in 1999.
In late 1996, after more than five years of addiction to heroin, Frusciante went cold turkey. However, months later, he was still unable to break addictions to crack cocaine and alcohol. In January 1998, urged by his longtime friend Bob Forrest, Frusciante checked into Las Encinas, a drug rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena. He was diagnosed with a potentially lethal oral infection, which could only be alleviated by removing his rotten teeth and replacing them with dental implants. He also received skin grafts to help repair the abscesses on his ravaged arms. About a month later, Frusciante checked out of Las Encinas. 2b1af7f3a8