The Pill Poppers


EXCLUSIVE: Prince’s former drug dealer tells how the legend spent $40,000 at a time on six-month supplies of Dilaudid pills and Fentanyl patches – highly addictive opioid pain killers – for 25 years…

The dealer said the musician suffered crippling stage fright and could not get on stage and perform without the drugs

…had a phobia of doctors so could not obtain a prescription legally.

This set me wondering how many other artists need legal pharmaceutical drugs just to get on stage and perform. And how many sports men and women too. And how many perfectly ordinary people, just to get through everyday life. With nobody else knowing.

And in fact I get the impression that in places like San Francisco, people may no longer smoke, but a great many of them are just popping pills instead.

How many of these pills are “highly addictive”? And how much do pharma companies make from selling what are in many cases highly addictive drugs?

We smokers may be despised as junkies simply because we very visibly light up and puff away, creating clouds of smoke. But if you just discreetly pop a pill every now and then, nobody will know that you’re an even worse junkie than any smoker. Which seems to have been the case with Prince, according to his drug dealer:

Doctor D said: ‘He was always a pill man – that’s why nobody ever saw him do drugs. He never shot up, or snorted cocaine’

We’re told that there’s a “smoking epidemic”, but I wonder how much that serves to mask another even larger hidden epidemic of pill popping, with Big Pharma supplying huge amounts of highly addictive (as well as novel and dangerous) drugs, and with doctors acting as their perfectly legal drug pushers.

These days I’m on zero prescription medicines. I take no tablets. I just drink tea and smoke cigarettes all day, and have a few shots of whisky to knock me out last thing at night – and I’m a social pariah of a kind that your children shouldn’t be allowed to see. If I swapped the cigarettes for nicotine patches, and the whisky for sleeping pills, I’d become a respectable member of society again, but I’d have just as powerful – perhaps even more powerful – a set of addictions as before.

But I don’t want to be respectable. And I prefer tea and cigarettes and whisky because I actually enjoy them. I can’t think of a single time in my life when I can say that I’ve ever enjoyed taking any tablet. It seems that the only difference between traditional products and the pharmaceutical drugs that replace them is that the former were usually very enjoyable, while the latter are entirely joyless.

…unless in San Francisco they hold pill parties where everyone has a high time while sharing their Dilaudid pills and Fentanyl patches?

I doubt it, somehow. It takes me about 15 minutes to smoke one of my roll-ups, and one hour to drink a pint of lager (other people can knock them back in minutes, but I linger over mine). But it only takes about two seconds to pop a pill. It’s probably precisely because it takes a long time to eat and drink anything that social rituals – lunches, dinners, tea ceremonies, drinking parties – and social venues – pubs, cafes, restaurants – have grown up around these activities. But such social bonding can’t happen when it only takes a couple of seconds to ingest the required dose. How do you linger over a pill? How do you savour a tablet?

When everyone’s on pharmaceutical tablets, and even their nutritional needs are met through direct stomach injections of NutriProxin™ in less than five seconds, there will be no more pubs or cafes or restaurants, and there will be no more dinner parties or tea ceremonies. And no taste or odour or texture either. And ours will be a completely socially atomised world.


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15 Responses to The Pill Poppers

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank we’ve got to have flatulence left!

  2. Lepercolonist says:

    Prince was a ‘health nut’ who disliked smokers/smoking. Typical hypocrite who was a closet pill popper.
    I agree with your impression that there are millions of ‘respectable’ people who are addicted to Big Pharma’s prescriptions.
    I noticed that Pfizer is trying to rehabilitate Chantix after losing 273,000,000 in class action lawsuits.

  3. waltc says:

    I suspect a connection between decrease in smoking and increase in pill popping

  4. irocyr says:

    I maintain that Big Pharma’s involvement in rabid anti-smoking was not only about selling Champix and patches, gum etc. Smoking helped and still helps people cope with everyday life. Popping pills increasingly replaced smoking especially by the youth and that in my opinion is a big part of what Big Pharma’s plan was about. If you only knew the number of young and even older people in my immediate surroundings who consume anti-depressants, anxyolitics, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, yet these same individuals will frown when I dare have a cigarette in their company and I get lectured about the harm I do to my health by them.

    In Quebec, the consumption of such medication went up 150% not long after the first smoking partial ban in the workplace in 1997 or 98. Coïncidence? Don’t think so. I don’t want to imagine how much it has increased in the last decade with the overkill anti-smoking campaigns and comprehensive smoking bans.

  5. hugo says:

    Novel and Dangerous.

  6. Rose says:

    What do tobacco, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol, have in common? They are all natural products and can’t be patented and are not made by the pharmaceutical companies, but the pharmaceutical companies do make patented products to either “help” you stop using most of them or as a “healthy” substitute.

    But first they have to make you believe that you have a problem and they seem to have lots and lots of little helpers to do that, some of them even funded by government it’s been going on so long.

    Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering

    “A lot of money can be made from healthy people who believe they are sick. Pharmaceutical companies sponsor diseases and promote them to prescribers and consumers. Ray Moynihan, Iona Heath, and David Henry give examples of “disease mongering” and suggest how to prevent the growth of this practice

    There’s a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they’re sick. Some forms of medicalising ordinary life may now be better described as disease mongering: widening the boundaries of treatable illness in order to expand markets for those who sell and deliver treatments. Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers. The social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease.

    Whereas some aspects of medicalisation are the subject of ongoing debate, the mechanics of corporate backed disease mongering, and its impact on public consciousness, medical practice, human health, and national budgets, have attracted limited critical scrutiny.

    Within many disease categories informal alliances have emerged, comprising drug company staff, doctors, and consumer groups. Ostensibly engaged in raising public awareness about underdiagnosed and undertreated problems, these alliances tend to promote a view of their particular condition as widespread, serious, and treatable. Because these “disease awareness” campaigns are commonly linked to companies’ marketing strategies, they operate to expand markets for new pharmaceutical products. Alternative approaches—emphasising the self limiting or relatively benign natural history of a problem, or the importance of personal coping strategies—are played down or ignored. As the late medical writer Lynn Payer observed, disease mongers “gnaw away at our self-confidence.”

    • junican says:

      Even better for the Drugcos is epidemic mongering. Epidemics don’t just get individuals to act, they get governments to act, with a massive increase in demand for remedies. Smoking is not an illness, but it is an epidemic; tobacco is not even condition, but we see ‘tobacco epidemics’. So why not call mountains ‘mountain epidemics’? After all, mountaineering, with all its dangers, is becoming more and more popular, isn’t it?

  7. Roobeedoo2 says:

    ‘Professor Wood said: “Just like a sense of beauty or happiness, the precise location of pain sensation in the brain remains elusive for now.”‘

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    Of course relying on Big Pharma heals all [sarcasm]… If you don’t believe it, read the research [propaganda] they publish to convince you. Chantix has no ill side effects according to their sponsored research and of course there are a new crop of smoking ban miracles.

    In NOLA, the Times-Picayune is reporting that the smoking ban has improved the health of musicians and the reporter even cites the Scotland smoking ban miracles to reinforce his case (even though those have been exposed as frauds).

    And of course, the smoking bans improve infant health too. (I didn’t know infants frequented pubs?)
    Of course these pseudo-reports are outright propaganda but the the public and politicians accept it hook, line and sinker.

  9. Rose says:

    The perils of butter

    Ban butter to save our hearts, says doctor
    “Butter should be banned in a bid to save thousands from heart disease, a leading heart surgeon claims.
    Dr Shyam Kolvekar said that he is “increasingly concerned” about the nation’s eating habits as he is seeing patients as young as 30 in need of heart bypass surgery due to a diet “overloaded” with saturated fat.

    According to a national diet survey, nine out of 10 of children, 88 per cent of men and 83 per cent of women in Britain eat too much saturated fat, consuming a fifth too much each day.”

    “It is estimated that by reducing saturated fat intake in line with government recommendations could prevent at least 3,500 deaths per year.

    Experts say that over time a diet too high in saturated fats can lead to raised blood cholesterol and a build up of fatty deposits in the arteries that supply the heart.

    This increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 198,000 deaths a year and costs the economy £7.9 billion a year”

    “By adjusting your diet by replacing butter with a healthy spread or margarine is a very simple thing to do and makes a whole world of difference.”

    “Mr Kolvekar’s comments were issued by KTB, a public relations company that works for Unilever, the maker of Flora margarine.
    However, a KTB spokesman said there were no financial ties between the consultant and Unilever and he was not receiving any payment. ‘These are his views,’ added the spokesman.

    The surgeon timed his comments to coincide with the Food Standards Agency’s campaign to promote the virtues of low-fat milk.”

    http: //

    Dairy products to carry cigarette-style health warnings as Government uses ‘shock tactics’ – 2008

    “Soon cheese and other dairy products could come with health warnings like cigarettes

    Popular dairy foods like cheese and butter could soon have to carry cigarette-style warnings in a bid to slash Britain’s soaring levels of obesity and heart disease, according to reports.

    The hard-hitting government health warnings would be aimed at urging people to cut down on the amount of saturated fat they eat and make their favourite dairy products an occasional treat rather than regular part of their everyday diet.”

    http: //

    Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus

    “Cascades are especially common in medicine as doctors take their cues from others, leading them to overdiagnose some faddish ailments (called bandwagon diseases) and overprescribe certain treatments (like the tonsillectomies once popular for children). Unable to keep up with the volume of research, doctors look for guidance from an expert — or at least someone who sounds confident.

    In the case of fatty foods, that confident voice belonged to Ancel Keys, a prominent diet researcher a half-century ago”

    “To bolster his theory, Dr. Keys in 1953 compared diets and heart disease rates in the United States, Japan and four other countries. Sure enough, more fat correlated with more disease (America topped the list). But critics at the time noted that if Dr. Keys had analyzed all 22 countries for which data were available, he would not have found a correlation.”

    “After the fat-is-bad theory became popular wisdom, the cascade accelerated in the 1970s when a committee led by Senator George McGovern issued a report advising Americans to lower their risk of heart disease by eating less fat. “McGovern’s staff were virtually unaware of the existence of any scientific controversy,” Mr. Taubes writes, and the committee’s report was written by a nonscientist “relying almost exclusively on a single Harvard nutritionist, Mark Hegsted.”

    “Meanwhile, there still wasn’t good evidence to warrant recommending a low-fat diet for all Americans, as the National Academy of Sciences noted in a report shortly after the U.S.D.A. guidelines were issued. But the report’s authors were promptly excoriated on Capitol Hill and in the news media for denying a danger that had already been proclaimed by the American Heart Association, the McGovern committee and the U.S.D.A.

    The scientists, despite their impressive credentials, were accused of bias because some of them had done research financed by the food industry. And so the informational cascade morphed into what the economist Timur Kuran calls a reputational cascade, in which it becomes a career risk for dissidents to question the popular wisdom.”
    http: //

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