Flea Opens Up About Addiction, Opioid Crisis in Stirring Op-Ed
“There is obviously a time when painkillers should be prescribed, but medical professions should be more discerning,” Chili Peppers bassist writes
Flea recently examined the opioid crisis in America and his own struggles with addiction in a stirring op-ed the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist penned for Time.
“I’ve been around substance abuse since the day I was born,” Flea wrote in “The Temptation of Drugs Is a Bitch.” “I saw three of my dearest friends die from drugs before they turned 26, and had some close calls myself. It was a powerful yearning to be a good father that eventually inspired a sense of self-preservation, and in 1993 at the age of 30 I finally got that drugs were destructive and robbing my life force. I cut them out forever. Temptation is a bitch though.”
The bassist went on to describe how he defeated his own addiction – “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” – in his op-ed, which Time published as part of the magazine’s “The Opioid Diaries” special report.
Flea also opened up about a recent experience with Oxycontin, and how the medical community makes it easy to get addicted to opioids. As Flea writes, the dealers in “the seedy world of narcotics” have changed from “scary gun-toting criminals” to “healthcare providers.”
“A few years ago I broke my arm snowboarding and had to have major surgery. 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 two-month supply of Oxycontin,” Flea wrote.
“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 added, “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. Addiction is a cruel disease, and the medical community, together with the government, should offer help to all of those who need.”