Red Hot Chili Peppers' Bassist Flea Discusses Addiction

"I was high as hell..."

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Bassist Flea Discusses Addiction Image: Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers Bassist Flea has opened up about his addiction to painkillers in a new piece for TIME Magazine.

The legendary Melbourne born four-stringer - real name Michael Balzary - drew on his personal experiences to criticise the liberal prescription of opioids in the US.

Here’s an extract:

“A few years ago (2015), I broke my arm snowboarding and had to have major surgery. My doctor put me back together perfectly, and thanks to him I can still play bass with all my heart. But he also gave me two-month supply of Oxycontin.

“The bottle said to take four each day. I was high as hell when I took those things. It not only quelled my physical pain, but all my emotions as well. I only took one a day, but I was not present for my kids, my creative spirit went into decline and I became depressed. I stopped taking them after a month, but I could have easily gotten another refill.

“Perfectly sane people become addicted to these medications and end up dead. Lawyers, plumbers, philosophers, celebrities — addiction doesn’t care who you are.

“There is obviously a time when painkillers should be prescribed, but medical professions should be more discerning."

80% of people currently addicted to Opioids like heroin in the US began on prescription drugs, according to the US’ National Institute of Health.

While in Australia, legal painkillers are also a growing problem, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare suggesting there had been a 24% increase in opioid medication prescriptions in the three years to mid-2015.

A measure to control local levels of addiction to prescription medication, a ban on over-the-counter sales of the drug Codeine, came into effect in February this year.