Rocker Flea Gives Personal Account Of Addiction
L.A. natives are well aware of the work of Flea. The famed Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist has sold millions of albums and been honored with dozens of accolades. He also is a recovering addict and very transparent about his battles with alcoholism and drug abuse. What is less known about Flea is the more recent struggle he faced with Oxycontin and how it nearly led to him being another victim of America’s opioid crisis. In a bravely written op-ed for Time Magazine, the legendary rocker shared his story.
Taking readers back to his childhood, Flea delved into the beginnings of his addiction problems (dating back to age 11). In middle school he began smoking marijuana, which later led to snorting coke, shooting up and nearly losing his life. His piece also delves into the friends he saw succumb to their habits and the catalyst that led him to sobriety.
“I saw three of my dearest friends die from drugs before they turned 26, and had some close calls myself,” Flea wrote. “It was a powerful yearning to be a good father that eventually inspired a sense of self-preservation, and in 1993 at the age of 30 I finally got that drugs were destructive and robbing my life force. I cut them out forever.”
And though he successfully cut ties with his demons, Flea admittedly still struggled with the urge to use. In his own words, he described anxiety and music stress as trigger points and ones that were quite challenging to overcome.
Flash forward to earlier this decade and Flea openly admitted to using again. But this wasn’t a heroin needle nor a bottle of vodka. It was a “harmless bottle of pills” prescribed by a medical professional.
After a snowboarding accident, Flea underwent surgery and ultimately received Oxycontin during his recovery period. Without knowing it, he began experience a “high” all over again and a potential slippery slope back into addiction.
“The Oxy bottle said to take four each day,” he wrote. “I was high as hell when I took those things. It not only quelled my physical pain, but all my emotions as well. I was not present for my kids, my creative spirit went into decline and I became depressed.”
Thankfully this struggle was short lived, but it helped Flea realize his mission to spread awareness about dangerous painkiller addictions.
“There is obviously a time when painkillers should be prescribed,” Flea concluded. “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. Addiction is a cruel disease, and the medical community, together with the government, should offer help to all of those who need it.”