John King, USA

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February 15th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

Celebrities and prescription drug addiction

Dr. Drew Pinsky, Marvet Britto and Jessica Yellin discuss celebrities and prescription drug addictions.

Filed under: Interview • JKUSA
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Scott Flitcraft

    John, there is an easy fix to the prescription drug use/ abuse problem. My sheriff has created a data base pharmacists are required to use when selling certain over-the-counter meds to people. There can see the amount purchased, which gives an idea to how much a person is using or abusing. If doctors had the same type of data base and were required to use it, they would see what other docs are prescribing, thus the potential of abuse or misuse. What do you think?

    February 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  2. Edy Nathan

    Addiction. The psychology and the cause of addiction in the celebrity world may have more to do with the public life they have chosen then merely addiction as it relates to genetics. Addiction. It is never good. It is almost impossible to conquer. Addiction. It banishes you from the life you love, the people who love you and the dreams of fulfillment. Chasing you, begging you to continue, convincing you that without it you cannot be. Funny, it is really quite the opposite, isn’t it? Addiction. Without it, you can be! How is it that addiction and its muses have the ability to take the song out of the singer, rendering them silent?

    February 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Rishika

      Death. And once you start becoming an adcidt you need extremely serious medical attention to stop, you NEVER EVER EVER go cold turkey without like 3 doctors caring over you, withdrawal could kill you even. Continued use could kill you even with a doctor beside you. It's a really bad thing to start using.Addiction can also cause:Schizophrenia (multiple personality disorder)Terrible wounds and burns, that you didn't even know you had.Spend thousands of dollars a year to keep it goingLoss of friends and family supportNot caring about anything~Don't be a dumb ass.

      March 22, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  3. Absynthe

    Dr. Drew – I can't agree any more with you! I've tried to explain this, until I'm BLUE in my face! CHRONIC ADDICTS cannot have one drink, not one drop, not one toast. Nada! Then I get back from people who aren't addicts, "Well, I've had Valium, and survived just fine!" They aren't an Addict, and can't wrap their mind around the Addiction Pathology.

    Dr. Drew, you've not been wrong yet, on what kills an addict. You're not over-reacting, with how many people are dying each and every day.

    The real question is: Why haven't MORE people taken you more seriously!? This could've stopped more people from dying, gotten them treatment. Perhaps they don't understand that you do Celebrity Rehab, because Joe Schmo Rehab doesn't get people's attention.

    It just kills me, that people think it's some sort of conspiracy that's killed Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston. Addiction is a BRAIN DISEASE, and these people needed real help, not enablers to get them through their next project!!

    Dr. Drew, I wish you luck in getting this message through the ordinary person's head. An Addict never believes they have an issue – until sometimes, they've almost lost everything they own (like Michael Jackson).

    It doesn't matter whether one is rich & famous, or just a regular person; Addiction doesn't care.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  4. Jesus Made

    GODS Word is Pure Truth
    It is not a religion
    Let’s look at what the truth says
    When Lord Jesus saw that the people came running
    Together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him,
    Thou deaf & dumb spirit, I charge thee come out of him. ( Mark 9:25)
    And he said this kind can come forth by nothing but prayer & fasting. ( Mark 9:29)
    So are we supposed to take medication and mask it? NO
    Only through Lord Jesus can this be overcome
    Search the Holy Bible and the answers are there.
    Once again Lord Jesus is the TRUTH,THE LIFE ,THE WAY!!!!!!!

    February 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Nirmal

      You need more medicine to get ileref. Eventually you need stronger types of medicines like Morphine, Dilaudid, Methadone and others that come with terrible withdrawal effects. My wife has had severe migraine headaches for 15 years and became addicted to prescription Vicodin and Percocet. A majority of pain killers can become addicting if taken on a long term basis. The medication Methadone, can cause tooth loss and bone loss if taken long term.

      March 22, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  5. David Loffert / My Story of Rx Abuse

    After completing 4 years at the University of Northern Colorado for my Bachelor of Science, 1 year at Johns Hopkins University for my Masters in Health Science, and 2 ½ years into my Ph.D. in respiratory medicine at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, I thought I had complete control of my life. Specifically, my career in aerosol respiratory medicine. I had published my first paper in a respectable peer reviewed medical journal (Chest) when I was 27. Several months after that, I presented the paper at a medical conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. It was one of 9 trips I would take to Germany to consult with a medical company established in Starnberg, Germany.

    By the time I was in my second year of my Ph.D. I had published/presented 54 medical papers, published 6 peer reviewed medical papers, was contributing author on one book, owned and operated my own consulting company in respiratory medicine, developed a patent for respiratory devices, and was progressing successfully in my Ph.D. I was 31 years old and I was proud of my accomplishments and my continuing success in respiratory medicine. But, that was all about to change. Addiction would enter my life and take away from me my possessions, my profession, my loved ones, and my sanity.

    My pathway to addiction started when I made an appointment to see Dr. Cary Suter, M.D. for migraine headaches. I put great trust in him due to the fact that he was the medical schools doctor and was responsible for taking care of the students enrolled in the medical school programs. In a timeframe of 8 months I was prescribed 6,647 controlled substance pills. I had pills to help me stay awake and study, pills for helping me sleep, pills for anxiety, and pills for pain. I knew about addiction but I thought I was too intelligent to become addicted. Anyway, these pills were provided to me by the schools doctor who said he had taken pills when he was in medical school to help him succeed. My ignorance would cause me to lose almost a decade of my life and would bring me close to death many times as a result of my severe drug addiction.

    Although Dr. Suter lost his medical license for over prescribing controlled substances and not monitoring that prescribing, it was too late for me. I had to drop out of my Ph.D. program due to my addiction. Dr. Suter lost his license 3 months after I dropped out of the program. At this point in my life, I had to confront and accept some very disturbing facts: I no longer was pursuing the goal I had been following for the past 15 years, I was severely addicted to prescription drugs, the doctor who had been prescribing me the drugs had his medical license revoked, and the main focus of my life was to obtain drugs. I was, in essence, trapped in the severity of my addiction. For the first time I had lost complete control over my life.

    My first of numerous addiction related detrimental events came when I was presenting a medical paper at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Before my lecture I forged a prescription on my computer and proceeded to the pharmacy to have it filled. Since the prescription was for Demerol, the pharmacy called the doctor and verified the prescription was forged. The police were waiting for me (at the conference lecture hall) to finish my lecture and when I did they handcuffed and arrested me. I was taken out in front of all my colleagues and conference members and taken to jail. Needless to say I was immediately fired from my job as a senior aerosol scientist for a prominent German company established in the United States.

    For many years I was doctor shopping. I would acquire my drugs in many ways: the internet, hospital emergency rooms, forged prescriptions, clinics, private doctors, and in other countries. I would stay employed by various companies because of my experience in respiratory medicine. But, I would ultimately get fired when my drug addiction interfered with the quality of my work. Eventually, word of my addiction became known to my colleagues and the respiratory medicine industry. From that point on, I was not called upon to lecture, to consult, or in any way work in the respiratory medicine industry. I was, for all intents and purposes, “blackballed” from my profession.

    Shunned from my profession, disenchanted from my family and friends, and homeless, I fell into a deep depression. It was at this time that I wrote a suicide note and attempted to commit suicide. Over the next 9 years I would attempt suicide 1 more time, have 35 toxic overdoses, and 45 seizures. All of which brought me close to death each time.

    During the 9 years of my addiction, I would periodically give the rehabilitations a try. Nine times I made a serious effort to get sober. But, every time I would relapse within weeks of being discharged. After 9 years of being an addict, I completely surrendered to my disease and came to the understanding that my addiction was not going to be successfully addressed in weeks or even in a couple months of treatment. I realized that my recovery would require at least a year in a long term residential program where I could work on my addiction issues every day with no distractions. I found that in a year-long cognitive/behavioral rehabilitation program. This program not only worked on my addiction issues but also worked on my cognitive/behavioral issues that caused me to seek out the drugs.

    Currently, my life is finally in a direction I can be proud of. I graduated from a year-long in-patient residential cognitive/behavioral rehabilitation facility. My sobriety restored my clarity of thought and determination. Two attributes which are essential for completing my autobiography, “From Hopkins To Homeless: My True Story Of Prescription Drug Addiction”. I believe I can inspire and educate others about addiction and recovery with my memoir.

    My future is completely open with possibilities. I do know that I am very thrilled and inspired living life as a sober individual since December 25, 2007. And, for the first the first time in over 9 years I have a sense of self-confidence and respect for myself. This confidence reminds me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. For this reason, I have enrolled and been accepted to complete my doctorate in public health education.

    It has been a long, arduous, and self-revealing journey through my 9 years of addiction to recovery. Unfortunately along the way I became deceitful, dishonest, unreliable, and untrustworthy. On the other hand I can proclaim that through my suffering and adversity came great rewards and prosperity. Today, I will continue to advocate for those affected by this disease of addiction. It is a passion and a pathway that I will pursue for the rest of my life.

    Please visit http://www.fromhopkinstohomeless for further information about my story and the non-profit organization PRePARe (People Recovering from Prescription Addiction and Relapse).

    February 22, 2012 at 4:09 am |
    • Kevin

      Yes, it sound as if you are addicted to ppicsrertion medications. If I were you I would seek out professional help and maybe go through a drug rehabilitation program. There are inpatient and outpatient ones. Your counselor if you decide to go to one will test you and go by your test scores to see whether you need to be inpatient or outpatient. Please do this as soon as possible. Your addiction sounds pretty severe.

      March 22, 2012 at 10:21 am |
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