LISA MARIE PRESLEY’s friends are terrified that her struggles with chronic back pain could lead her down the same deadly path of addiction to painkillers that killed her famous father.
Elvis’ 46-year-old daughter canceled all remaining dates on her “Storm & Grace” tour across the U.S. and Canada after doctors warned her that performing onstage would aggravate her back troubles.
Although she’s been dealing with back pain for years, a source says Lisa Marie’s condition got worse after she began nonstop touring around the globe in June 2013. Finally, doctors ordered her to pull the plug.
“It’s frightening, because it’s the same thing that happened to her father,” said an insider. “In the years before his death, Elvis was also performing a grueling schedule of one-night shows, and he was taking prescription drugs for pain, including back pain. He claimed he needed the drugs to perform.
“By the time he died, his problem with the drugs was out of control. Although Lisa Marie is not taking painkillers now, people fear she could self-destruct like her dad if she ever did get hooked on them.”
Elvis was addicted to the opioid Demerol and had been taking amphetamines and sleeping pills for years prior to his death in 1977 at 42.
According to the National Institutes of Health, opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine are often prescribed to manage acute and chronic back pain, “but should be used only for a short period of time and under a physician’s supervision.”
Side effects can include drowsiness, slowed reaction time, impaired judgment and potential addiction.
Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a leading New York psychologist who has not treated Lisa Marie, said: “This is an absolutely dangerous and potentially deadly situation. When you have an addictive personality like she had and you start taking concoctions of narcotics, muscle relaxants and other pain pills, you run the risk of not only becoming addicted but also overdosing like her dad and so many other celebrities.”
Lisa Marie, who has twins with hubby Michael Lockwood and two older children with first husband Danny Keough, is aware of the risks she faces because of her family history. And she has openly admitted to having trouble with drugs in the past – including a cocaine addiction when she was just 14. The singer has also faced other health issues that nearly forced her to miss at least one concert date this past fall. In January, The ENQUIRER reported that her throat was so severely ravaged from a mystery medical condition that a medical expert said the damage could lead to deadly esophageal cancer.
While the cause of her throat problems is unknown, one medical expert, who had not treated Lisa Marie, suggested Lisa Marie may be suffering from a chronic, painful and dangerous gastroesophageal reflux disease known as GERD.
The insider added: “Knowing her history, we’re all praying her back pain treatment doesn’t lead her into a new nightmare.”