Rush Limbaugh admitted at the end of his program today that he is addicted to pain medication and is checking himself into rehab for the next 30 days (on my blog I’ve pulled together some of the coverage).
“You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life. So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.
“I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck due to herniated discs. I am still experiencing that pain. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. This medication turned out to be highly addictive.
“Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps.
“Immediately following this broadcast, I am checking myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me. The show will continue during this time, of course, with an array of guest hosts you have come to know and respect.
“I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes. They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem.
“At the present time, the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete. So I will only say that the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions, which I will clear up when I am free to speak about them.
“I deeply appreciate all your support over this last tumultuous week. It has sustained me. I ask now for your prayers. I look forward to resuming our excursion into broadcast excellence together.”
For audio/video clip(s) of Rush Limbaugh’s on-air statement, please go to www.rushlimbaugh.com and/or www.premieretalk.com.
While it is nice that Rush proclaims he is not a victim or a role model, he forgets to admit he is a hypocrit who has not been compassionate towards drug addicts in the past or called them role models. William Greider wrote about how the WSJ had more compassion for Rush than drug addicts who aren’t conservative.
From a column by Ellis Henican:
In Shadow of His Own Words
“Let’s all admit something.”
Rush Limbaugh was on his usual tear.
“There’s nothing good about drug use,” he was saying. “We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”
And this includes zillionaire radio hosts? Hmmm …
When you have a talk-radio show 15 hours a week, you have an awful lot of air to fill. On this particular day, which was Oct. 5, 1995, Rush was roaring about the scourge of illegal drug use.
Even though blacks and whites break the drug laws in roughly equal percentages, he noted, black druggies go to prison far more often than white druggies do. But to the liberal-bashing host, this was no reason to ease up on blacks.
“What this says to me,” he told his listeners that day, “is that too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we’re not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too.”
Including zillionaire radio hosts? Well, maybe not…
Another public moralist had been caught in a personal jam. And Rush’s words were coming back to haunt him.
The constant digs at Bill Clinton not inhaling.
The heartless shrug when Jerry Garcia died.
“‘When you strip it all away,” Rush had said of the Grateful Dead guitarist, “Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he’s being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks.”
Rush Limbaugh isn’t the first prominent finger-pointer to eat his own words. It wasn’t so long ago that Bill Bennett was explaining how an anti-vice crusader could also be a degenerate gambler.
And Jeb Bush, the president’s brother and Rush’s governor, was pleading for leniency and privacy when his daughter got arrested for drugs. Yet he’d been happily sending other Florida youngsters to long prison terms for similar crimes.
But there in the dusty Limbaugh archives one glimmer of sanity did appear yesterday.
It came from 1998, just about the time Wilma Cline’s black-market drug ring was revving up. Rush was on the radio. He was talking about America’s “half-baked” war on drugs. We might all be better off, he said quite plainly, if drugs were legalized – and then regulated like cigarettes.
“What is missing in the drug fight,” he said, “is legalization. If we want to go after drugs with the same fervor and intensity with which we go after cigarettes, let’s legalize drugs. Legalize the manufacture of drugs. License the Cali cartel. Make them taxpayers and then sue them. Sue them left and right and then get control of the price and generate tax revenue from it. Raise the price sky high and fund all sorts of other wonderful social programs.”
Was he serious? I’m not sure.
But the timing is interesting, you’d have to say. And I’ll bet he quotes those words again.