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The cast of Glee has decided to face Cory Monteith’s drug abuse problems head on, using them in the story line attached to his character, Finn Hudson. The 31-year-old actor died last month following a drug overdose; he was found in his Vancouver hotel after missing check-out time.

The show will air a tribute episode to their now-deceased castmate in which they plan to “deal directly with what led to his passing, with the drug issue,” Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly revealed earlier this week. That does not mean that Finn will die of a drug overdose as Cory did.

The tribute will be the third episode in the fifth season of the show, which airs September 26. Reilly said the cast, Cory’s former girlfriend Lea Michele included, feel strongly about the tribute episode. In fact, Lea has been a driving force for the idea.

“Lea has been a pillar of strength,” Reilly says. “She was the first to say, let’s get back to work.”

Lea revealed yesterday via Twitter that she was headed back to the Glee set to start shooting the upcoming season. This comes just days after she was seen out in public for the first time since her boyfriend’s passing; Lea sported a necklace with her beau’s name on it.

Reilly said the show’s creator Ryan Murphy has not yet worked out all the details for the tribute episode.

“You have to give him a few weeks to work it out.”

He has also said that the second episode of the show will feature many public service announcements dealing with drug abuse.

The Glee cast gathered just weeks ago to pay tribute to Cory; a memorial was held at the studio lot where the show is taped. Cast and crew alike wore black ribbons and played his music from the show. Though Reilly is not directly connected to the show, he paid tribute to Cory in his own way.

“You see people struggling with addiction…Monteith led a big, wonderful life. He never looked like that. He was very open about drug use in his past, though not so much in the present,” says Reilly. “His death was an accident.”

The show must go on for the remaining members of the cast. Reilly says the first episodes of the show will air as planned prior to his death, featuring performances of popular Beatles songs.

“There’s some incredible stuff,” he says.

Following Cory’s special episode, Glee will take a three-week hiatus, allowing for Fox to cover the world series.

“So there will be a kind of natural break after it,” Reilly says. The show will then return to a regular schedule without Finn Hudson.

Photo credit: Wenn.