You know when you learn a new word, and, all of a sudden, you hear it everywhere? Well, I’m having a moment like that right now. A few months ago, the only people I’d heard of getting addicted to prescription pain killers were Rush Limbaugh, Paula Abdul, and Elvis. Then my friend and former co-worker Joshua Lyon told me that he was writing a memoir about how he’d been a prescription-pill junkie for years. His book Pill Head came out last month, and it’s both shocking and incredibly illuminating. I had no idea how much a few pills could run someone’s life. And then there was Michael Jackson’s death. A few days later, a friend told me that she subsists on a combo of Aderall to help her focus during the day and painkillers to help her unwind at night. This week, Lisa Carver wrote “My Life In Xanax,” in which she came clean about how and why she became a pill popper. Last night, a friend wrote me to explain why he’d been acting so strange for the past few months. He’s been downing painkillers for years and decided he had to quit cold turkey. Let’s just say, it hadn’t been easy. In Pill Head, Joshua says that 48 million people have used prescription pills for non-medical purposes.
I’m really starting to believe that number.