Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has spoken on America’s opioid crisis, hitting out at doctors for over-prescribing pain medication.
The 55-year-old was surrounded by substance abuse as a child, saying he was ‘smoking weed when I was eleven, and then proceeded to snort, shoot, pop, smoke, drop and dragon chase my way through my teens and twenties’, but he quit drugs aged 30.
However, he said he was ‘high as hell’ after being prescribed pain medication by his doctor.
In an opinion piece for Time, the rock star, real name Michael Balzary, said: ‘Many who are suffering today were introduced to drugs through their healthcare providers.
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.’
After breaking his arm in a snowboarding accident, Flea’s doctor gave him a two month prescription for Oxycontin for his pain post-surgery.
He said: ‘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.’
Flea stopped taking the pills after a month, but added that he could have easily has his prescription refilled.
He continued: ‘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.’
Earlier this year, Tom Petty’s wife and daughter said they hoped the star’s death from an accidental overdose will spark a conversation on the opioid crisis.
Petty, who was suffering from a broken hip, was found with traces of oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl, despropionyl and fentanyl in his system.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for those under 50 in America.
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