Celebrity Addictions: Painkillers and Hollywood

Love, the former lead singer for the band Hole, was arrested in 2003 after she went to her ex-boyfriend's home and broke a window. Officers on the scene said that Love was intoxicated at the time and she was later charged with illegal possession of the painkillers OxyContin and hydrocodone.



Love admitted to using OxyContin, and thought she had a prescription for both medications. Love's husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, also had a history of drug use and committed suicide at age 27.

"There are many people out there who are legitimately given these prescriptions by physicians, but they will divert them," said Kowal, who explains that people in need of cash can get a high return for selling their drugs.

"People may come asking for them to sell it and say 'Hey Jim, I heard you have a prescription for Percocet, I'll give you $10 a pill."

A person with a month's worth of OxyContin could face the temptation to make a good deal of money.

"You could get $2,400 for medicine on the street you just paid $10 for at the pharmacy."



Charlie Sheen

With a reputation as one of Hollywood's inveterate bad boys, Sheen has been known for his multiple, tumultuous love affairs, his penchant for prostitutes and his substance abuse.



Along with other drugs, painkiller medications are on Sheen's list of addictions. His abuse of these and other drugs, combined with heavy drinking, put the actor on extended probation. This punishment came on top of a previous one-year prison sentence after Sheen was convicted of beating his then-girlfriend Brittany Ashland in December 1996.

Sheen's destructive behavior was so marked, his father, Martin Sheen, asked prosecutors to file probation violation charges against his son.

Drugs continued to haunt Sheen's personal life. Denise Richards, Sheen's second wife, left him in 2005 while she was still pregnant with their second daughter. According to CNN's "Showbiz Tonight's" Brook Anderson, nasty allegations flew in the divorce papers, alleging that Sheen was once again addicted to painkillers.

Though experts say much research does not support addictive personality theories, they agree that addiction is partially inherited and partially due to personal history.

"Most studies point to approximately 50 percent of addiction being genetic," said Christopher Welsh, an addiction specialist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "A lot of what then happens depends on personality, environmental influences and social and familial influences."



Michael Jackson

The King of Pop, whose long history of scandal almost matches his illustrious music career, found his dependency on painkiller medication less than "thrilling."



His struggle with the medications lead the megastar to abruptly cancel his worldwide "Dangerous" tour in 1993. Jackson claimed that the addiction stemmed from a burn injury he suffered in 1984 when filming a Pepsi commercial. He also claimed that the mental stress of child-molestation allegations fueled his need for medicine.

"I was humiliated, embarrassed, hurt and suffering great pain in my heart," the pop star said in a 1993 audiotape statement. "I became increasingly more dependent to the painkillers to get me through the days of the tour. My friends and doctors advised me to seek professional guidance immediately in order to eliminate what has become an addiction."

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