Talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announced at the end of his broadcast today he will check into a rehab clinic this afternoon to treat an addiction to pain-killing drugs.
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Responding to a story published last week by the National Enquirer, he told his millions of listeners “part of what you’ve heard and read in the past week is correct.”
“I am addicted to prescription pain medication,” he said in his statement.
Limbaugh explained he began taking prescription painkillers about five or six years ago to ease pain following spinal surgery.
“Unfortunately the surgery was unsuccessful, and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck now, due to two hernated disks – pain which I’m experiencing because of that,” he said.
Rather than more surgery, he tried to treat the pain with medication but it “turned out to be highly addictive.”
He confirmed the Enquirer’s claim he tried twice to break the dependence by checking into medical facilities.
Limbaugh said he recently agreed with his doctor to try again.
“So, immediately following this broadcast, I will check myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold that this highly addictive medication has on me,” he said.
Limbaugh insisted he is “not making any excuses. ”
“You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons,” he said. “They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model.”
He continued: “I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes. They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem.”
Limbaugh acknowledged authorities are conducting an investigation, referring to the Enquirer’s claim he has been targeted in a drug-ring probe.
He said he has been asked to limit his public comments until the investigation is complete.
“So I will only say that the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions,” he said, “which I will clear up when I am free to speak about them.”
Limbaugh concluded: “I deeply appreciate all your support over this last tumultuous week. It has sustained me. I ask now for your prayers. I look forward to resuming our excursion into broadcast excellence together.”