We constantly read about one star after another checking into rehab for a whole host of problems. Often, it’s attributed to “exhaustion” for media press release purposes.
But it’s not just stars who are falling by the wayside. The public as a whole, has started to use prescription drugs as their clutch to get them through whatever curveballs life throws at them.
We spoke to Richard Taite, President and CEO of Cliffside Malibu about the rise and rise of prescription drug abuse in society.
Here is our interview with him….
Celebzter: More and more stars are checking into rehab….do you think both illegal and prescription drugs have become somewhat of an epidemic amongst celebrities?
Richard: It is becoming an epidemic, but not only amongst celebrities. We are seeing it more amongst professional athletes, business professionals, it could even be your next door neighbor, your best friend, or your wife. The majority of our clientele come to be treated for a prescription drug abuse problem.
Celebzter: Why do you think stars, more so than the normal folk, fall into the dangerous trap of alcohol and drug abuse?
Richard: The biggest reason for this is because, for celebrities, the access to alcohol and drugs is much easier and the quantity is pretty much unlimited. They are frequently at events where they can have any substance they want, and any amount they want. Stars are often thrown into the life of fame and fortune before they have developed the necessary skills to cope with everything that that lifestyle entails and that’s where some get trapped into making bad choices.
Celebzter: Is it the pressure of the spotlight, or an insecurity which leads them to get a high from something else?
Richard: Everyone is different and will have different reasons for using, but basically they are trying to escape that moment because they don’t want to feel pain, or stress, or anxiety, or an uncomfortable feeling. They might have suffered from a traumatic childhood, or maybe they are terrified of large crowds, or maybe they lack social skills. These deep underlying issues and lack of coping skills are the big reasons why people use.
Richard: I think it has stayed consistent.
Celebzter: Moving away from celebrities for one second, why do think the western world has such a problem with addiction? Could it be blamed on both personal bad experiences and the recession, which propelled many into despair and depression as they struggled to survive and find a job, and used it as a painkiller?
Richard: The important thing to note here is that there isn’t just one simple explanation for why addiction occurs for some and not others, and by the same token, there isn’t just one magic treatment program that works for everyone. Every addict has underlying issues that caused them to abuse alcohol and drugs in the first place, ranging from physical abuse as a child, to getting teased at school, to getting fired at work, to having back surgery at 40 years old.
Celebzter: If someone is self- medicating to block something out, what is your best advice to them?
Richard: If someone is abusing a substance to the point of dependence, they need to get help from the best treatment center they can. They will need a safe, comfortable detox program, and that should be followed up with an addiction treatment plan that will help get to the root of the underlying reasons for self-medicating in the first place. The best treatment facilities, just like anything else that is the best, come at a high price, but at Cliffside Malibu we understand that not everybody has the opportunity to access a top-notch facility such as ours. This is why we make the best possible recommendations and referrals based on the person’s exact needs. Long term addiction recovery is possible with the right treatment, and they can go on to excel and live the life they were always mean to live.
Celebzter: Are shows such as Intervention a good or bad thing?
Richard: Shows like this don’t give people a chance at a true recovery. They don’t really get help when they are not being completely honest and authentic, and what happens is they end up just playing to the camera. What is even worse is that once they relapse, they are under the illusory impression that they had actually given rehab a chance when they had not. Not to mention the fact that when they do ultimately relapse, because they are getting substandard treatment, they are usually under contract by the TV show to allow the train wreck at the end to be shown. This furthers their embarrassment and gives the addict further reason to medicate the embarrassment away. It’s actually quite mean-spirited.
Celebzter: Do you think people are abusing now more than ever?
Richard: That’s a great question, and I know people are abusing prescriptions drugs now more so than ever. I know that because I see it first-hand. But I see street drugs not being used as much as they used to be. Scoring illegal drugs is quite inconvenient and a lot of times what happens is you put yourself in harm’s way and in dangerous situations with dangerous people. Doctor shopping, online pharmacies, and pill mills are not only a less expensive way to get high, but a much more convenient way to get drugs, especially for the upper middle class and very well to do.
Celebzter: If so, what can we do to stop this trend?
Richard: Provide more education and awareness about why addiction really happens, how you really can overcome it and how to help and support a loved one with an addiction. With the right help, it’s possible to overcome an addiction and live the life you were always meant to live.