October 02, 2003

Rush to Treatment

I never thought I would mention Rush Limbaugh in this blog. Politically, I have little regard for him and his ilk. But he seems to have popped up as a professional interest. Specifically, Rush is being accused by his former housekeeper cum supplier of being addicted to painkillers.

Wilma Cline, 42, says Limbaugh was hooked on the potent prescription drugs OxyContin, Lorcet and hydrocodone — and went through detox twice.

According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health from SAMHSA (Dept of Health and Human Services) (just in this week), more people are now seeking treatment for painkiller use (360,000) than for heroin (277,000), a number exceeded only by alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

Naturally, El Rushbo has waxed wroth on the glories of minimum sentencing, especially for crack cocaine users (primarily minority youth, etc. etc.). In doing so, he repeatedly conflates substance use with morality, as in this June 2003 quote from his show:

First of all, we tell people what they can do to their bodies all the time - no cocaine, no prostitution, no throwing yourself off a building. Second, laws are nothing but defining morality!

We can't expect guys like Rush to examine their hypocrisies (some might say idiocies), but it is time to realize that substance use, misuse, abuse and dependence is not a moral failing, but a public health concern. And it's not a problem of the inner city, the unemployed and the poor, as Rush can now so ably demonstrate.

Posted by campbell at October 2, 2003 01:59 PM | TrackBack