Monday, July 20, 2009

Painkillers and Celebrities

Michael Jackson is only the latest celebrity with an addiction to Oxycontin. We watched as Rush Limbaugh - ever the most judgmental of anyone else - became addicted. We watched as Heath Ledger, like Jackson, went to several doctors to be able to mix painkillers with other legal drugs until it killed him. And then there is Lindsey Lohan, who is said to mix Oxycontin with painkillers and vodka. And young girls can't figure out why they aren't as skinny as she is....

Perhaps celebrities rationalize it because it is legal. But, Oxycontin, and others, should be used for pain - not to get high. If it is legitimately needed for pain as an injury heals, that makes since. But for Michael Jackson's hair burning incident - some 25 years ago - to be blamed for starting his addiction? Come on - to not be accountable for that long is just ridiculous.

The truth is, that celebrities such as this make it harder for people who have no addiction issues and are in legitimate, chronic pain. They have to jump through hoops to get a script for Oxycontin. They are also often flat out refused the painkiller by the doctors when it is the only thing that works for their pain. I know people who have debilitating pain from Fibromyalgia, severe pain from injuries in their backs or legs, or Diabetic Neuropathy. This is just to name a few.

When are celebrities going to learn that Oxycontin is meant for people that need it? It isn't a recreational thing. And, really, you can dress it up and call it legal all you like - but not only are you making it harder for people who really need it - you are an addict. And unfortunately, that can be quite fatal.

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