PALM BEACH, Fla. — Abusing the nation’s most common prescription painkiller is about to get a lot harder thanks to new rules published by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh is having none of it—at least none of what he calls, “nanny state proscriptions against the God-given right to do with one’s body what he pleases.”
Added Limbaugh during his drive-time radio show, “And I do mean he.”
After publicly admitting an addiction to pain medication and seeking treatment in 2006, Limbaugh soon returned to his broadcasting routine, injecting vitriol into the airwaves with nary a slap on the wrist for the alleged “doctor shopping,” in which prosecutors originally accused him of engaging.
The new rules aim to make such behavior more onerous by placing hydrocodone—found in Vicodin—in a more restrictive category of drugs that prevents doctors from phoning in prescriptions and patients from getting refills on them.
In the 45 days between the DEA’s announcement and the date the changes go into effect, the host promised to have a doctor in his studio, prepared to write prescriptions for listeners with “bad backs, cranky girlfriends, or a nagging pain caused by B.S. government regulations.”
While some experts focus their criticism on the undue burden for patients in chronic pain they say the changes may create, Limbaugh has his eye on the numbers.
He does not deny that more than 20,000 Americans die annually from prescription drug abuse, a number which has more than tripled since the 1990s when Limbaugh himself claimed, “Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. … And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”
Limbaugh changed his tune only after his public battle with drug abuse and a review of his show’s demographics. “Rush realized that half his audience listens to him while they’re driving to the pharmacy to score pills or stuck in traffic on their way to the outpatient clinic,” said Randy Fontaine, a producer for “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”
“Americans need to wake up from their government-induced stupor and fight for the freedom to get a rush the only way they know how,” said Limbaugh. “Besides, old habits die hard.”