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Limbaugh's secret life

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted October 6, 2003

We conservatives are all saddened by the news that Rush Limbaugh is being investigated by law enforcement authorities for illegal buys of prescription painkillers. If accounts being bandied about the media are accurate, then Limbaugh: a) has procured tremendous amounts of highly addictive narcotic medications from his pill-pushing housekeeper Wilma Cline, and, b) is likely to be subjected to arrest. Oh, by the way, dear Wilma sold her hot celebrity story to The National Enquirer for about four hundred thousand dollars. Am I surprised by the overall situation? Yes and no.

Rush LimbaughGiven Limbaugh's outstanding analytical mind and sharp wit, it's difficult to believe that he's constantly in a drug induced state. Who is more articulate and funny than Limbaugh in the world of political commentary? Nobody. However, the hard truth is this: Among entertainers, media personalities and politicos, substance abuse exists in epidemic proportions. For that reason, many conservatives have quickly moved beyond denial and are prepared to hear the worst of it. And I think the majority of conservatives will continue to be compassionate and supportive toward El Rushbo as long as he embraces rehabilitative efforts.

Limbaugh is clearly the most influential conservative of our era, with a radio audience of up to thirty million listeners each week. He's probably converted more Americans to the conservative persuasion than any individual except Ronald Reagan. Understandably, Limbaugh's myriad political foes rejoice in his current troubles. Al Franken and the radical Left are ecstatic. If the tabloid piece largely pans out, Limbaugh has provided his enemies with significant ammunition in efforts to discredit and silence him. But will those hostile to Limbaugh ultimately succeed in ruining him? I doubt it. His current woes are definitely a setback, but not insurmountable. I would state one pivotal caveat. The only individual who can really bring down Limbaugh is Limbaugh himself. Conservatives will maintain solidarity with Limbaugh if, and only if, he dedicates himself to being clean and sober. However, if Limbaugh continues to dabble in drugs, his legion of fans and listeners will slowly drift away.

Although most people are focused upon Limbaugh's legal circumstances, much more is at stake. Drug addiction is a life-threatening condition, which requires proper intervention. Reports indicate that Limbaugh had been rapidly detoxed twice, but returned to drugs both times. Of course he has to undergo another detoxification, and not of the dubious "ultra-rapid" variety that is completed in 24 hours. But what about follow-up care? I'm referring to a program of drug treatment to prevent relapse. Importantly, with relapse there's always the specter of overdose and further physical deterioration. And Limbaugh will have to fight his addictive inclinations for the rest of his life - that is the nature of the beast. It's encouraging to note that many radio and television personalities, such as Don Imus and Larry Kudlow, are succeeding in their day-by-day recovery efforts.

The drugs taken by Limbaugh - OxyContin, Lorcet and Hydrocone - are terribly dangerous by all accounts. Never mind that they cause a host of emotional side effects including paranoia and mood swings. Now, it's coming to light that at least two of these powerful painkillers are linked to sudden hearing loss. In other words, it's conceivable that Limbaugh's deafness was caused by his own addictive behaviors. If that turns out to be the case, it's not only tragic but speaks to the incredible grip of dependency created by these drugs. On some level Rush Limbaugh, like all substance abusers, has self-destructive tendencies. That's his private business, and his responsibility to explore through counseling. For addicts, arrest is often a good thing since the court system forces them into essential treatment. Roy Black is a very adept criminal attorney who understands these issues. If Limbaugh is charged with a crime, certainly mandatory drug rehabilitation would be part of the plea bargain. I doubt that Limbaugh would be made to serve any jail time.

As to The National Enquirer article, I read it. And I found it to be credible, rife with details that demonstrate the severity of Limbaugh's substance abuse problem. Limbaugh had at least one other drug supplier besides Wilma Cline, referred to as his "FedEx" connection. Apparently OxyContin is Limbaugh's drug of choice. And law enforcement authorities are in possession of a couple of tapes, and a bunch of emails, that substantiate the claims made by Wilma Cline and her husband regarding Limbaugh. The Cline couple cut themselves a very nice deal with the people at The National Enquirer that are experts at marketing sensationalism.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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