Prescription Drug Abuse Source of Rush Limbaugh’s Rapid Weight Loss?

Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh’s recent dramatic weight loss has many people wondering whether it is tied to drug abuse. Though Limbaugh credits the weight loss to medical supplements from Quick Weight Loss Centers, it is not the first time dramatic changes to Limbaugh’s body have been speculated to have been caused by drug abuse. writer Dan Norder writes that given Limbaugh’s documented history of drug problems, including run-ins with the law, “it should not be surprising that there has been rampant speculation that Limbaugh’s loss of 90 pounds since March was due to drug abuse.”

Norder reminds us that in 2003, The National Enquirer published claims by Limbaugh’s housekeeper than the pundit was abusing prescription pain medication including OxyContin, which prompted an investigation by law enforcement officials.

Limbaugh then took a five-week leave from his radio show to undergo rehabilitation for his admitted addiction to painkillers. But in April 2006, he was arrested for “doctor shopping,” an illegal activity where people go several different doctors to get prescriptions for drugs. Limbaugh was alleged to have asked four different doctors for prescriptions in an attempt to exceed the legal dosage.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if Limbaugh underwent treatment for drug abuse and kept a clean record for 18 months. Though Limbaugh denied deceiving any doctors, he took the deal and paid a fine of $30,000.

Just two months later, in June 2006, Limbaugh was detained by customs officials at the Palm Beach International Airport after finding Viagra in his luggage with a prescription made out to someone else. Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, said that the label had Limbaugh’s physician’s name listed instead of his own for privacy purposes. The drugs were confiscated, but no charges were filed. An arrest could have jeopardized Limbaugh’s previous plea agreement.

Black argued that Limbaugh had only been arrested because he is a celebrity, but Limbaugh previously argued on his show that drug abusers should go to jail and that laws should be enforced uniformly.

In 1995—a time when police say Limbaugh had been abusing prescription drugs—Limbaugh said that black serve prison time for such offenses more often than whites and that “too many whites are getting away with drug use.” He also famously attacked Bill Clinton’s admission of having tried marijuana before becoming president.

Limbaugh admitted to now being almost totally deaf, a condition that he claimed was caused after an inner-ear disease. Critics have noted that loss of hearing is one of the side effects of abusing painkillers, as is extreme weight loss.

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The Pain of Addiction

Vicodin addiction often starts innocently enough. Most people start taking Vicodin or other pain medications after surgery or an injury. But then they can’t stop. They need more to get the same pain relief. They start doctor shopping to get more pills. And the cycle continues until it takes over their lives.