A week after charges surfaced that Rush Limbaugh had purchased thousands of illicit prescription painkillers over the last four years from a black-market drug ring, Limbaugh announced on his nationwide radio show on Friday that he is indeed addicted to painkillers and would be checking himself into rehab for 30 days right after the show. ''I am addicted to prescription pain medication,'' he told listeners. ''Immediately following this broadcast, I am checking myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me.''
Limbaugh said his addiction began several years ago, when he was prescribed painkillers following spinal surgery. He said he had checked himself into rehab twice before in order to end his dependency, confirming in part the account of his former housekeeper Wilma Cline.
She told the National Enquirer that she had supplied him with OxyContin and other prescription painkillers for four years via a black-market drug ring, a ring currently being investigated by Florida authorities. While law enforcement sources have told the Associated Press and CNN that Limbaugh has been a subject of the investigation for his alleged drug purchases, the talk-show host addressed the legal allegations only by saying, ''At the present time, the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete. So I will only say that the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions, which I will clear up when I am free to speak about them.'' That comment marked a change from last week, when he addressed the charges by saying, ''I am unaware of any investigation by any authorities involving me. No governmental representative has contacted me directly or indirectly.''
Limbaugh said he would not follow the example of other celebrities who've fought drug addictions and spun their stories as cautionary tales. He said he was neither a role model nor a victim. ''I take full responsibility for my problem,'' he said.