Ink-Stained Retch

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Rarely has a man marched so proudly up his own ass as Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker does here, an account of mag's cover story on Rush Limbaugh's drug addiction.

The preening, oblivious Whitaker exclaims that "we were the first national magazine to do a cover story on the alarming spread of the addictive painkiller OxyContin," adding that "we never imagined" that a decade of coverage of the conservative talker would intersect with the drug.

Maybe that was because Oxy was portrayed as the scourge of the rural America, the "hillbilly heroin" that Newsweek had positively over-running the town of Hazard, Kentucky with its cheap, alluring high. Excepting the gullible souls who got hooked by accident—they lack quality, affordable medical care or a basic understanding of body chemistry, you see—Oxy helped blot out hard-scrabble blue-collar life.

If that accurately explained Oxy abuse, then yes, there is absolutely no conceivable connection to a well-cared for, fabulously wealthy, immensely adored entertainer in Florida. But, of course, that 2001 scare story did not get the Oxy story right.

The truth is Oxy—or any drug—can be used and abused by a cross-section of the populace with a wide array of outcomes. If Oxy was getting people high in backwoods trailer-parks, then you can bet the folks in uptown penthouses were in on it too. The only real difference between the two groups would be the quality of their legal help.

Reason's numerous deflations of the Oxy scare can be found here.

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  1. after some major, major back surgery about a year ago, i’m happy to have had oxy and vicodin. i did have some nausea and sickness when i stopped taking them, but whatever, it was only a coupla days.

    in retrospect, the main reason i stopped was to prevent any further decay into whitetrash-dom. you know, tornadoes and all.

    cheers,
    drf

  2. Does anyone read Time or Newsweek any more? Seriously.

    I remember my family getting Time magazine as a kid, together with the local daily newspaper. But these days, with CNN and the internet, I can’t figure out why someone would subscribe to those magazines. They don’t seem to offer any more dramatically in-depth coverage of the week’s news but, rather, are devolving into more crappy Consumer Reports type “news you can use” financial and consumer tips.

  3. “Rarely has a man marched so proudly up his own ass”

    Oh god, thank you. That was brilliant.

    Also, way to bring Hazard, KY into it (I guess Newsweek did that, but still..) “That’s just a little bit more than the law will allow”

  4. “Rarely has a man marched so proudly up his own ass”

    way to bring Hazard, KY into it

    You know, that Kentucky Jelly tastes AWFUL.

  5. Hell, I got addicted to NyQuil once. It’s not hard to over use a medication if you’re not careful, even a wussy over the counter one.

  6. “Rarely has a man marched so proudly up his own ass”

    Brilliant.

    Although I don’t think it was a very long walk, and the path was well worn.

  7. Jeff:

    Also check out the shameless 5-part series on the evils of oxycontin in the week’s Orlando Sentinel.

    It’s an in-depth series in the print edition and a catchy flash version on the website.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/

  8. “If Oxy was getting people high in backwoods trailer-parks, then you can bet the folks in uptown penthouses were in on it too. The only real difference between the two groups would be the quality of their legal help.”

    Would you say the same thing about crystal meth? What about inhalants? I do think there are socio-economic factors at work regarding who uses what.

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