The other shoe dropped today, as Rush Limbaugh announced that he is addicted to prescription painkillers (he didn’t name the drug but described it as “highly addictive”). He is checking into a treatment center for the next 30 days, and turning his show over to guest hosts. Limbaugh traces his addiction to back problems which have resulted in chronic pain, for which the medication was originally prescribed.
As to the legal issues, Rush says that “the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions, which I will clear up when I am free to speak about them.” I assume that the legal complications will be minimal, given that Rush acquired legal (albeit prescription) drugs for his own use.
Liberals will celebrate this bump in Rush’s road, but it may not have a major long-term impact on his effectiveness. Limbaugh’s years of dedicated service have built up a great deal of credit with conservatives, and they aren’t going to desert him now. I do have one concern, though: the strain of being on the air, live, for three hours every weekday is enormous. It is especially stressful given Rush’s huge audience, and his knowledge that liberals are monitoring every word, hoping to catch him in an error. I assume that the painkillers were one way in which he coped with the stress. Rush certainly can come back, but at some point the question will be, given how much money he has made and how much pressure he operates under, does he want to?
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