In 2003, there was a Florida investigation into the illegal doctor-shopping
that led to the Rush Limbaugh prescription drug addiction case,
where he used different physicians to get prescriptions for hydrocodone
Rush Limbaugh admitted to his radio listeners on October 10,
2003 that he indeed was addicted to prescribed painkillers, and
he then entered a treatment program. He had suffered from back
pain for years, and then corrective surgery had been "botched"
resulting in no relief from the pain.
Limbaugh had previously spoken out about drug abuse, before his
addiction became known. A legal battle ensued when the assistant
state attorney general requested Mr. Limbaugh's medical files,
since that is information protected under the fourth amendment.
Limbaugh's attorneys and the ACLU filed on his behalf, and a Florida
judge stated that the state could not question Limbaugh's doctors
about his medical condition or any information that was disclosed
to the doctors.
Good Housekeeping ...
Limbaugh's former housekeeper went to the Florida police with
the information that would eventually get him arrested. She said
he took up to 30 Oxycontin (oxycodone) pills in one day. Through
the course of the investigation, a Palm Beach couple was arrested
for pushing Oxycontin and hydrocodone. Stories of meetings where
a box of cash was exchanged for a baggie of pills were particularly
damning to his case.
It is not uncommon for someone to become addicted to painkillers,
especially if the pain is still there. Sometimes, though, addicts
continue to use the medications even after the pain is dissipated.
In the Rush Limbaugh prescription drug addiction case, he was
only using two similar medications, both prescribed for pain,
as compared to recent deaths of celebrities who were mixing various
types of prescriptions at the same time.
Limbaugh and his attorneys feel that the state never had enough
evidence to support the charge of doctor shopping. He pleaded
not guilty to the charge, and he was released on bail. In return
for a not guilty verdict in a plea agreement, Limbaugh paid for
the costs of the investigation, and is subject to random drug
Doc Shop Shock ...
Some of the people who listen to Limbaugh feel that he was unjustly
singled out, because he is a media personality. They don't think
that many people are actually charged with doctor-shopping, even
though it may be widespread.
In the 1990's, Limbaugh had a back surgery that was not successful.
This was the beginning of his painkiller addiction. Limbaugh stated
he had gone to hospitals to detox from hydrocodone on two occasions,
but it's not clear whether those visits actually happened or not.
Whether Limbaugh was involved
in doctor shopping, his addiction to prescription
medications was fairly well-documented. He does not appear to
have suffered many ill effects of his overuse of the pain medications
he was abusing. This is in stark contrast to other well-known
people who have passed away after mixing prescription drugs with
other drugs or alcohol. They are both dangerous addictions, and
it's a positive thing that they have been brought into the light.
This may encourage many other people with addictions to come forward
and seek treatment.