Rush Limbaugh: Rush in Rehab

"If people are violating the law by doing drugs," rabid Republican radio host Rush Limbaugh declared in 1995, "they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up." "I actually think that we've gone soft on punishment in this country," he remarked on another occasion.

Cut to late 2003 -- when Limbaugh checked himself into a drug rehabilitation center.

[Limbaugh's colleagues were quick to come to his defense. "One point is that it was 'highly courageous' of Limbaugh to admit his addiction, as Brent Bozell wrote," New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg remarked. "This would be more persuasive if Limbaugh's admission had come before rather than after his addiction [to prescription pain killers, a Schedule II drug no different, under federal law, from cocaine] was described in detail in a National Enquirer story...

"The suggestion that he became addicted to them under a doctor's care is almost certainly false. So is the suggestion that he wasn't taking them 'recreationally' -- i.e., to get high. The prescribed dose of Oxycontin, one tablet every twelve hours, is usually sufficient to relieve severe pain. The Enquirer has Limbaugh purchasing nearly twelve thousand during a four-month period in 2001 -- enough to soothe his back troubles for sixteen years."]

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