Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers: ‘OxyContin made me high as hell’

Flea, the long-time bassist in Red Hot Chili Peppers, has opened up about his lifelong battle with drug addiction and the ever growing dangers of prescription drugs.

Flea, writing a detailed and honest opinion piece for Time magazine called The Temptation of Drugs is a Bitch, explained how he started smoking weed at the age of 11 before proceeding to “snort, shoot, pop, smoke, drop and dragon chase my way through my teens and 20s.” Explaining the severity of his addiction, Flea explained he had some “close calls” with death due to his drug addiction which he “cut out forever” in 1993 when he turned 30.

Then, later in is his life, Flea was prescribed controversial painkiller OxyContin when he broke his arm during a snowboarding accident: “I was high as hell when I took those things,” he writes. “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,” he added.

OxyContin, an opiate painkiller, is manufactured by Purdue Pharma who are thought to have made in excess of $1.8billion from sales of the drug last year. Becoming one of the most popular painkillers in the US, opioid overdoses have become a leading killer of under-50s and claimed the high profile lives of Tom Petty and Prince in recent years.

“Many who are suffering today were introduced to drugs through their healthcare providers,” Flea continued. “When I was a kid, my doctor would give me a butterscotch candy after a checkup. Now, they’re handing out scripts. It’s hard to beat temptation when the person supplying you has a fancy job and credentials and it’s usually bad advice not to trust them.

“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.”

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