Celebrity Addictions: Painkillers and Hollywood

"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," he said.

Limbaugh's announcement hardly ended the matter. In 2006, he turned himself in to Palm Beach County police for charges of "doctor shopping," according to The Washington Post.

Court documents linked Limbaugh to several painkiller prescriptions filled at several pharmacies from doctors in New York, California and Florida, according to the Post.

Kowal says that "[celebrities] have access to these things, they have the money of course to pay for it, but they have physicians in every city they travel around the world."

"There are physicians who are star struck and they want to do whatever they can. They don't know what the other doctor did in London in New York," Kowal said.

Because Limbaugh turned himself in and agreed to undergo rehabilitation, the initial charges were dropped.

Chevy Chase

Chase's story of painkiller addiction (and recovery) long preceded the boom in painkiller addictions in the 1990s.

In 1986 Chase checked himself into the Betty Ford Center — an ironic move considering he made his comic mark by imitating President Ford's clumsy falls on "Saturday Night Live"

At the time, Chase's agent Pat Kingsley said the treatment was for "dependency on prescription drugs relating to chronic and long-term back problems" resulting from years of stunts dating to his days on "Saturday Night Live," according to the United Press International.

Shortly after Ford's death in December 2006, Chase wrote to The New York Times supporting the Betty Ford Clinic and its work.

"During my short stay there," he wrote, "I often saw Mrs. Ford personally surveying the clinic and generously offering a helping hand."

"If it hadn't been for the courage of Mr. Ford's wife, Betty, for admitting to an alcohol problem, I would never have received the help I needed," he added.

After his time in rehab, Chase was invited to lunch with the Ford family and formed a friendly acquaintance, according to the Times.

Elvis Presley

Presley was a pioneer of rock 'n' roll music, and the extreme lifestyle that goes with it. He dated gorgeous women, bought a flashy mansion and took drugs.

When Presley died in 1977, reportedly of heart complications, questions about his painkiller addiction began to snowball into accusations. But Presley didn't quite doctor-shop; he received many pain medicine prescriptions from a single man — Dr. George Nichopoulos.

In 1981 Nichopoulos testified in his own defense that he did not overprescribe drugs for Presley. Instead, he claimed he tried to take control of his patients' addictions, patients that included Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and seven others.

Nichopoulos testified that all his patients named in the indictment had been getting drugs from other sources and that he had ordered placebo pills from the drug manufacturer, according to The New York Times.

"The goal with all these people was to control the medication," he said in testimony.

At the time prosecutors showed evidence of narcotics, stimulants and sedative prescriptions written for Presley. In the last 2½ years of the singer's life, the pills added up to more than 19,000 doses, or roughly 20 pills a day.

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