Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea: ‘Addiction Is a Cruel Disease’
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has had experiences dealing with drugs and addiction, but thankfully the singer has kicked the habit. However, in a new piece he penned for Time Magazine, the musician has opened up about his struggles while also addressing the dangers of prescribed opioids.
"I’ve been around substance abuse since the day I was born. All the adults in my life regularly numbed themselves to ease their troubles, and alcohol or drugs were everywhere, always. I started smoking weed when I was 11, and then proceeded to snort, shoot, pop, smoke, drop and dragon chase my way through my teens and 20s," says Flea.
"Once you’ve opened the door to drug abuse, it’s always there, seducing you to come on in and get your head right. I can meditate, exercise, pray, go to a shrink, work patiently and humbly through my most difficult relationship problems, or I could just meet a dealer, cop a bag of dope for $50 and fix it all in a minute. What I’ve learned is to always be grateful for my pain. That mindset has helped me stay away from the temptation of drugs," he adds.
Though he kicked his drug addiction, the bassist reveals that he had a difficult period of temptation a few years back when he broke his arm while snowboarding. "My doctor put me back together perfectly, and thanks to him I can still play bass with all my heart. But he also gave me a two-month supply of Oxycontin," explained Flea. "The bottle said to take four each day. I was high as hell when I took those things. It not only quelled my physical pain, but all my emotions as well. I only took one a day, but I was not present for my kids, my creative spirit went into decline and I became depressed. I stopped taking them after a month, but I could have easily gotten another refill."
The bassist says that it might not be as easy to realize what's going on when your "dealer" is not someone from the streets but rather a doctor with a fancy job title and credentials who you're supposed to trust.
"Perfectly sane people become addicted to these medications and end up dead. Lawyers, plumbers, philosophers, celebrities — addiction doesn’t care who you are," says the bassist. "There is obviously a time when painkillers should be prescribed, but medical professions should be more discerning. It’s also equally obvious that part of any opioid prescription should include follow-up, monitoring and a clear solution and path to rehabilitation if anyone becomes addicted. Big pharma could pay for this with a percentage of their huge profits."
He concludes with the thought, "Addiction is a cruel disease, and the medical community, together with the government, should offer help to all of those who need it." Read Flea's full discussion here.
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