What has plagued musicians, actors, and influencers the most in recent decades? No, not social media. Opioids addiction. Everything from prescription oxycodone and vicodin to heroin and fentanyl have taken many lives and ruined countless others. There’s no denying that drug use has reached an epidemic scale. But why does it seem like a higher percentage of celebrities abuse prescription drugs? It seems like every few years opioids are responsible for the deaths of pop culture behemoths, like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Kurt Cobain. Here are a couple reasons why addiction in the movie industry seem to disproportionately affect celebrities.
They Can’t Stop
Most people first come into contact with opioids in order to deal with pain. While it may seem harmless enough to take some pills to recover from something like a surgery, it can be very dangerous. Opioids are great at blocking pain, but they also cause the user to feel good. After using opiods your brain starts to rely on the artificial “feel good” feelings, and it craves more. But as you use more and more of it, you start to resist the drug and need either higher doses or a stronger opioid. This is how a couple pills after a routine surgery can eventually lead to a heroin overdose.
They Always Hurt
It’s estimated that over 20% of adults in the US suffer from chronic pain, and almost 10% of adults in the US have pain that severely restricts their life activities. Celebrities are no different. Chronic pain can be devastating and incredibly hard to live with. While it might seem like prescription opioids are a quick and easy fix, there are long-term consequences to opioid use. Some of the many side-effects include sedation, impaired breathing, and addiction. At Elihu Institute for Pain Management, we offer great alternative medications to opioids like: gabapentin, lyrica, ketamine, and muscle relaxants. Physical therapy and other interventional treatments are also available.
They Have Easy Access
Celebrities have the means to get their hands on whatever they want. People who work for celebrities will likely do whatever they can to continue to receive the financial and social benefits that come with celebrity. This includes the doctors to the stars who will do whatever the celebrity wants in order to keep them happy. If something hurts, the doctor can prescribe a quick-fix, catch all opiate to numb the pain. However, the short-term opiate fix can have long-lasting, detrimental impacts on the celebrities life and well-being.
They Want To Have Fun
Imagine you’re a celebrity on a night out. You’re in a nightclub. The bass is booming. Sweaty bodies swarm around you. A club promoter hands you an indiscriminate pill. You ponder for a second but take it anyway because you just want to have a fun night out. Celebrities are inundated with offers to do drugs recreationally when they go out or are backstage. It’s not their fault for wanting to cut loose, but recreational drug abuse can be extremely dangerous. What starts as one pill could very quickly turn into a pill dependency. That’s why it is extremely important to follow your doctor’s orders when dealing with prescription medication in order to minimize risk.
They Want To Relax
Celebrities have insane schedules. Whether they are on tour, on a shoot, or just on a bender they are constantly on the move. In order to unwind after a stressful day, some choose to take opiates to help them chill out. Stress also exacerbates chronic pain, so the little aches and pains that a singer might have will become unbearable after they’ve been on tour for months. While their lifestyle will have a toll on their health, there are many other ways to deal with stress besides opioid abuse.
It is important to note that while celebrity drug abuse is all over the news, not every one of them uses drugs. There is significant statistical bias given that these people have their entire lives telegraphed to the entire world. Some few, but significant, cases propelled celebrity opioid abuse into the conversations of millions of people. Not all stories of abuse have sad endings. Wonderful resources, like rehab, exist to help people kick their addiction and turn their lives around. For every Prince, there’s a Robert Downey Jr. who beat his addiction and became one of the most popular superheroes of all time.