In recent years, the prescription drug addictions of many public figures have come to light. One of the most tragic personal prescription drug addiction stories in recent years is that of radio commentator Rush Limbaugh. He achieved a level of fame, wealth, and influence that most people would envy, but he dealt with a privately devastating prescription drug addiction.
Rush Limbaugh is a prominent conservative talk show host and author. Around 20 million listeners tune into his radio show Monday through Friday. He wrote several books that have become bestsellers and have sold millions of copies. His conservative opinions (including calls for personal responsibility and clean living) and quick wit made him a national superstar; many people were shocked when it developed that he was addicted to drugs, himself.
In October of 2003, Palm Beach County Police linked Rush Limbaugh to the illegal black market of prescription drugs. Limbaugh admitted that he had become addicted to prescription pain medication several years earlier, when he underwent a spinal surgery. The surgery was unsuccessful and the radio commentator continued to experience excruciating pain in his lower back and neck. He claimed that he checked himself into treatment centers on two previous occasions to try to quit using the pain pills.
Though Limbaugh spoke out against drug use many times on his radio broadcast, he came clean about his own problems soon after the story broke in other news outlets. He made no excuses for his addiction and entered a treatment center for a third and final time.
Rush Limbaugh has since returned to his radio show and claims that he is now drug free, but the ordeal lost him the respect of some of his former listeners and provided those who disagree with his views evidence that he is a hypocrite.
While Rush Limbaugh recovered relatively quickly from his addiction, he went through many hard times before being able to cure his addiction, and the severe hearing loss he suffered was likely a result of the drugs he was taking. The hearing loss seems to have been adequately resolved with the use of a cochlear implant. However, many personal prescription drug stories do not end as well as Limbaugh’s; some end in death.